World Half Marathon record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei will headline the star-studded field at this year’s United Airlines New York City Half Marathon scheduled for March 17.
In 2017, the Kenyan had a sensational year when she broke six world records, four of which came in the one race. Jepkosgei, 26, will use the race as warm up for her eagerly awaited marathon debut in Hamburg on April 28.
The Kenyan athlete broke the half marathon record in Prague in 64:52, along with new world best for 10km in 30:05, 15km in 45:37 and 20km in 61:25.
Coached by her husband Nicholas Koech, Jepkosgei took the half marathon record in Prague in a time of 64:52, along with new world best for 10km in 30:05, 15km in 45:37 and 20km in 61:25.
“I’m excited to be running my first New York Half Marathon in two weeks’ time. The field has very good and experienced runners and it will give me great opportunity to gauge myself ahead of my full marathon debut in Hamburg in April,” Jepkosgei told Standard Sports.
She added: “I’m eager to see how I will run my full marathon, it will be a new experience for me, and I don’t really know what is in store for me, and marathon is torturing. I will just want to run and finish the race.”
Jepkosgei will be joined by her countrywoman Mary Wacera, a two-time World Half Marathon Championships medalist. The Nyahururu-based Wacera won the silver at the 2014 World Half Marathon in Copenhagen and followed it with bronze from Cardiff’s global showpiece.
The two Kenyans will face tough challenge against Ethiopian Buze Diriba, the race’s defending champion and American Desire Linden.
Linden will be using the half marathon as her final tune-up race before attempting to defend her Boston Marathon title in April. Last year, she became the first American to win the women’s open division at the Boston Marathon in 33 years.
“We are very excited to welcome all the United Airlines NYC Half champions back to defend their titles against a world-class lineup of Olympians and Paralympians to lead 25,000 runners through the heart of New York from Prospect Park to Central Park,” said Michael Capiraso, president and CEO of New York Road Running.
In the men’s race, Olympics 10,000m silver medalist Paul Chelimo will make his half marathon debut. The American will largely face a domestic line-up.