„We are extremely proud to welcome these two outstanding athletes among many other promising elite runners to our race. It will be fascinating to see what immediate impact Joyciline Jepkoskei can have in the marathon. In contrast Abel Kirui has so much experience. We hope that he can use this well and produce something special on our fast course,“ said chief organiser Frank Thaleiser.
Joyciline Jepkosgei achieved a sensational breakthrough in 2017, when she broke a total of six world records. Four of those came in one race: The Kenyan took the half marathon in Prague in 64:52, passing 10 k in 30:05, 15 k in 45:37 and 20 k in 61:25. Later in the year she improved her 10 k global record to 29:43 and then established the current world half marathon record of 64:51 in Valencia.
When Joyciline Jepkosgei now turns to the marathon there is a parallel to the greatest runner of the distance ever, Eliud Kipchoge. The Kenyan Olympic Champion and world record holder also ran his debut in Hamburg. Back in 2013 Kipchoge won the race with a course record of 2:05:30 that still stands today. However Jepkosgei did not think about Kipchoge when she opted for Hamburg. „My manager Gianni Demadonna and my coach Gabriele Nicola both told me that Hamburg has a fast and flat course,“ said Joyciline Jepkosgei, who hopes „for a good debut“ on 28 April. „I would like to achieve a time of around 2:22. But there are still two months of preparation to come. I have to wait and see how my body reacts to the training. Once I am a week away from the race I will see in what kind of form I am. Then I will determine my final goal.“ Since the beginning of the year Joyciline Jepkosgei has started training for her marathon debut under the guidance of her new coach Gabriele Nicola.
If Jepkosgei, who usually trains with male pacemakers, can build good form in the coming weeks Hamburg’s course record could be within reach. May be Jepkosgei can then follow in the footsteps of Kipchoge by breaking it in her debut in Hamburg. Ethiopia’s Meselech Melkamu holds this mark with a time of 2:21:54 from 2016.
According to Abel Kirui the men’s elite race will definitely see an attempt to break the course record. „I am focussing on Hamburg. The race will be a big challenge for me as I want to break Eliud Kipchoge’s course record. It will not be easy as it is a 2:05 time. However I really want to do it. It will be a big show,“ said the 36 year-old Kenyan, who won world marathon titles in 2009 and 2011. Kirui, who holds a personal best of 2:05:04, also took the silver medal in the Olympic marathon in 2012. A year ago he was fourth in London and then seventh in Chicago, clocking sub 2:08 times in both races.
More information about the Haspa Marathon Hamburg and online entry is available at: www.haspa-marathon-hamburg.de