World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge will compete in the NN Mission Marathon in Dutch city of Enschede on Sunday.
“NN Mission Marathon will go ahead as planned on April 18 and will be moved from Hamburg to Enschede, The Netherlands, on the specially designed course on Twente Airport which will be closed for general audience,” race organisers said yesterday in a statement.
The race which was initially planned for April 11, was pushed forward by a week due to Covid-19 restrictions in Hamburg.
And on Tuesday, Kenyan competitors started their journey to Nairobi from Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County via road due to Covid-19 restrictions which have forced suspension of local flights. In Nairobi, the athletes boarded the KLM Airlines flight and were expected in Enschede at 7.00am.
Another group of pacemakers will leave Kenya on Thursday for Enschede.
Kipchoge will be joined by up to 70 elite athletes who are seeking to qualify for the 2020 Olympics Games. The notable athletes include 2012 Olympics Games marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich from Uganda, his training mates Laban Korir and Jonathan Korir, Uganda’s Filex Chemonges, and Ethiopia’s Tadese Abraham.
Kiprotich, who used to train with Kipchoge at the Global Sports Communication camp in Kaptagat but has since changed his training to Kapchorua in Uganda, said his focus is to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
“The virus has really demoralised many athletes because even if they train, where are they going to compete? I have trained well and my focus now is to qualify for the Olympics Games and join my compatriot Fred Musoba who has already qualified,” revealed Kiprotich.
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Women’s elite race will see Gladys Chesir compete for the first time since returning from maternity leave. She will take on Madai Perez (Mexico), Irene Pelayo (Spain), Sara Moreira (Portugal), Laura Mendez (Spain), among others.
Chesir told Nation Sport says she will use the race to gauge herself after a long break.
“It has been long since I competed because when I was coming back from maternity, Covid-19 struck suspending all the sporting events for one year. I have been training well in Iten and I’m in good shape but I don’t want to talk much about the race because it’s the first one after a long period,” said the mother of one.
Kipchoge has been training quietly in Kaptagat, Elgeyo-Marakwet with minimal appearance to the public and the media.