NAIROBI, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- New York marathon champion Joyciline Jepkosgei has had a change of mind and will compete at the Africa Cross Country Championships in Lome, Togo on April 8.
The 26-year-old believes the endurance experience she will gain in the competition will be key in her preparations to take part in the London Marathon on April 26.
"It is always an honor to compete for Kenya. Of course my focus will be in marathon in 2020, but I need a race to gauge myself and the cross country is a good case," Jepkosgei said here on Tuesday.
In 2017, Jepkosgei smashed the world half-marathon record to become the first woman to run 21km in under 65 minutes clocking 64:51. However, compatriot Brigid Kosgei last year broke her record as she set 64.28 minutes.
Jepkosgei together with Margaret Chelimo will take the place of Sheila Chelangat and Commonwealth Games 10,000m silver medalist Stacy Ndiwa.
"I have a race in the same week as the Africa cross country. I can't be in Togo and in Europe at the same time I will miss the race in Togo," Ndiwa said.
Jepkosgei hopes one day she will be strong enough to challenge the world record in full marathon.
Kosgei has reshuffled the tables with a fast run in Chicago in October when she posted a new world record of 2:14:04 to beat Paula Radcliffe's record that had stood since 2003 of 2:15:25.
Also getting a chance to compete for Kenya in the race include Titus Kimutai, who was added following the withdrawal of defending champion Kibiwott Kandie, the reigning San Silvestre de Sao Paulo 15km road race champion. Edwin Kosgei takes over the place for world half marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor.
Athletics Kenya (AK) vice president Paul Mutwii said the changes were necessitated in order to bolster the national team as they anticipate strong challenge from Uganda and Ethiopia.
Both Kamworor and Kendie are keen to compete in the World Half Marathon, which will be held on march 31 in Gdynia, Poland.
"It has always been my dream to run for Kenya and being the champion at national cross country, I was named in the team to Togo but I will not run in Lome. I want to concentrate fully on the World Half Marathon," said Kendie, the Brussels half-marathon winner.
World 3,000m steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech will anchor Kenya's mixed relay team to Lome that also has Gilbert Kwemoi, Abel Kipsang and Lydia Jeruto.