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Kenya’s Nyaruai set for marathon debut as
Ondoro puts Houston title up for grabs  

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s former world youth 3000m champion Veronica Nyaruai is taking a leap in faith as she transcends to marathon with her debut set for this weekend in Houston.

Nyaruai, 28, wants to make history to become the first Kenyan woman to win in Houston.

She already confirmed her credentials last year, when she triumphed over the 21km distance in the Houston half marathon. But she knows the challenge ahead is tough as she graduates to full marathon.

“Records are meant to be broken. I intend to make my debut in marathon and believe it will go well and hopefully end up the winner,” she said on Friday.

Last year, the Kenyan woman clocked 67:58 to win the half marathon missing the course record, which is held by compatriot Mary Wacera at 66:29. Wacera set the course record in 2016.

“I must focus on my strength and believe I have what it takes to win any race. I must gain a podium finish in my debut race. It will inspire me as I take this new challenge of competing in marathon,” said Nyaruai.

“Everyone has a first time. Mine will be in Houston, where I believe I have an advantage because I have raced on that course before. My training has been good and the hard work put in it will bear fruits.”

Organizers have assembled an impressive elite field complete with 10 past champions and new up-and-coming challengers who are certain to push the boundaries of competition.

Nyaruai will have to battle against top Ethiopian challenge to stamp her foot and become the first Kenyan to win in Boston. She will face Biruktayit Degefa, the 2016 Houston Marathon champion, who is back after her runner-up finish in 2017.

There is also Abebech Afework Bekelewho won in 2014 and returns for the first time since her victory while Mamitu Daska, the 2011 winner, will look to contest the crown.

Kenya’s Dominic Ondoro returns to defend his title, while Bazu Worku (Ethiopia), 2013 and 2014 champion, hopes to challenge Ondoro and the rest of the proven men’s field.

Other Kenyans in the field include Milton Kiplagat Rotich, Elisha Barno, Isaac Korir and Nelson Oyugi. Kenya’s Joshua Kipkorir has dropped out citing injury.



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