Kenyan athletes gearing up for the Taipei Marathon in Taiwan on December 20 have been forced to severely adjust their training regimen due to strict coronavirus restrictions.
Two Kenyans, former Paris Marathon champion Paul Lonyangata and Elisha Rotich, are among 12 foreign athletes invited for the race that is classified as Bronze Label by the World Athletics.
The athletes, who are under Rosa Associati Management, left the country on December 1 and arrived the following day.
For safety reasons, organisers have quarantined all invited athletes and officials at Imperial Hotel, Taipei. After they checked into the hotel, they have not been allowed out or interacted with anyone including hotel staff.
The runners narrated to Nation Sport how different the race will be from all the other marathons that they have participated in.
Rotich said each athlete is training in their rooms and organisers are taking good care of them.
“We have not left the hotel since we checked in. We have treadmills in our rooms which we are using for training as we wait for the race. I have never met my fellow countryman since we arrived. That shows how serious things are here,” said Rotich.
The athlete said that the hotel staff delivers food at their doorstep.
Lonyangata said he is looking forward to a good race despite the strict measures to curb the spread of the virus.
“It’s true we have not met with my friend Elisha because we are quarantined which is a good initiative. I have just been training using a treadmill but I’m looking forward to a good race,” said Lonyangata.
The athletes will be subjected to Covid-19 testing either on December 16 or 17 before they are moved to another hotel close to the marathon course.
It was a clean sweep for Kenyan athletes last year when Kenneth Mburu (2:14:52), Josphat Letting (2:15:20), and Charles Kigen (2:19:49) took the first three positions.
In the women category, Antonina Kwambai won in 2:31:27 ahead of Ethiopia’s Meskerem Abera who clocked 2:34:18 while another Kenyan Naomi Maiyo was third in 2:38:33.