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Hellen Obiri to make Marathon debut in New York

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Hellen Obiri powering into victory in the 5,000m at the Kenyan trials for the World Championships
  • Obiri competed in her final track event at the World Championships
  • She has run in three previous Half Marathons
  • This will be her first full marathon

Two-time 5,000m World Champion Hellen Obiri will make her long awaited marathon debut in November, having been confirmed as part of the stellar cast for the New York Marathon, scheduled for the sixth.

Obiri has been slowly transiting to the road from track and only competed at the World Championships this year as she didn’t have many competitions. She finished second in the 10,000m in Eugene, being narrowly edged out by Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey in a sensational sprint finish.

And now, she will compete in her first huge race on the road in New York.

“I’m very excited to make my marathon debut at the New York City Marathon. I have watched the race many times on TV and have seen my Kenyan colleagues compete there. I know New York is a tough course, but I hope my experience on track, road, and cross-country will help me navigate the ups and downs,” Obiri told organizers after she was confirmed for the race.

Since last year when she won silver at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Obiri made it known that she had decided to run on the roads as she edges closer to the sunset days of her career.

Achieved a lot in track

“I have achieved everything I have wanted over the last 10 years in the track and now it is time to seek a fresh challenge. I am looking at the roads and I want to make as much success as I can there,” Obiri said then, as she started her journey to the longer distances.

She opted out of competing at the Commonwealth Games as she chose to focus on New York, and making a good imprint of herself as she now looks towards being a marathon queen.

She has been training at her base in Ngong, sharpening her energy and she will finish up her training in the USA from October.

“Training has been good and so far so good. I have worked on the endurance and also tried to perfect on the speed. I believe I will be ready to make my debut well,” Obiri said.

She has so far run three half marathons; finishing third at last year’s Istanbul Half Marathon before returning to clinch the title this year. She also competed at this year’s Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon where she finished second.

Healthy Kenyan field in New York 

For New York, Obiri will have a healthy field to contend with. Defending champion Peres Jepchirchir has been confirmed for a return to the American streets and the Kenyan cast will also involve the veteran Edna Kiplagat.

The 42-year old won the New York race in 2010, London 2014 and Boston 2017. She has second place finishes in London, Chicago and Boston and was third in Tokyo in 2016. She returns to New York for the first time since 2017 when she finished fourth.

Also in the race is Kenyan-born Israeli Lornah Salpeter who hopes to build on from her World Championship bronze to vie for a good finish in New York.

Last year’s runner up Viola Cheptoo, younger sister to track legend Bernard Lagat has also been entered for the race.

The Ethiopian opposition is expected from Senbere Teferi and Gotytom Gebreslase.

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