World Half Marathon record holder Ruth Chepngetich says her next focus is on defending her Nagoya Women’s Marathon title in match after clinching the National Cross Country title on Saturday at the Kenya Prisons Training College.
Chepngetich clocked 0:32:56 in first place, ahead of the 2016 Africa 5000m champion Sheila Chepkirui (0:32:58) and Zena Jemutai (0:33:06).
“The race was not easy but I am happy I managed to hold on and win. I am preparing to go and defend my title at the Nagoya Marathon in March and running in this competition today was a good way to prepare myself,” the 2019 World marathon champion said.
The two-time Chicago Marathon champion, who was competing on behalf of Kenya Prisons athletics team, spoke of how she has become a better athlete by running in cross country races.
“It is my favourite race because it sharpens me physically and psychologically prepares me for more battles ahead. It is never easy, I admit…and you will always feel a lot of pain,” she said.
On the other hand, Chepkirui, who made her debut in the 42km races in December last year, is preparing for a shot at the Boston Marathon title in May – to improve on her third-place finish at Valencia Marathon.
“My eyes are on Boston…it will be my second ever marathon race and I want to do well. So, it means going back to the drawing board to intensify training because it will not be easy battling against other elite athletes,” the Kenya Defence Forces athlete said.