NAIROBI, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Former World Half Marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir is hopeful she will improve on her sixth position from last year's race when returns the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon race on Friday.
Jepchirchir, who now sits fifth on the world all-time list with a personal best of 66:39, will be up against women's world marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei, Fancy Chemutai, the third fastest runner over the distance, Joan Chelimo and debutant Rosemary Wanjiru.
"Unlike last year when I lined up having come from maternity leave, I feel well prepared having had a good preparation."
"One day I am going to run a world record for the marathon because Eliud Kipchoge inspired many," Jepchirchir said. "It helps you to believe in yourself -- 'why not me?'"
The 27-year-old is spoiling for a fight as she seeks to push for a faster time and improve her personal best time.
"Hopeful the weather will be good. I want to improve on my personal best," she said.
Jepchirchir said that she is ready to take on her rivals despite their pedigree, and that her win in Japan at the Saitama International Marathon (2:23:50) and at the Lisbon half marathon (66:54) late last year is clear testimony she is getting back to her best form.
"I will be using the half marathon to gauge my preparedness for the Boston Marathon. After the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon, I will return home and focus on the big race," Jepchirchir said.
Jepchirchir said she can hardly believe she is a world-class champion -- a distinction she earned when she won the 2016 World Half Marathon Championships held in Cardiff, Wales. On crossing the finish line, she said she had to struggle to hold back tears of joy, and she hoped to have similar feeling should she win in the United Arab Emirates on Friday.
"Ras Al Khaimah Half marathon will be a fast one, since two athletes will be looking to break the world record," Jepchirchir said.
Jepchirchir broke two world records in 2016, but has since fallen behind in the seeding behind current world record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei who clocked the fastest time of 1:04:52 in Prague Half Marathon before lowering her own time to 1:04:51.
"For me the race in UAE is to prepare me for Boston contest. So the world record is not so important to me but feel where to place myself on the leaderboard and improve my personal best," she added.