NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Legendary Kenyan runner Tegla Loroupe believes the
strong Kenyan women’s team heading to the World Half Marathon is
capable of running a world record time in Valencia on March 24.
Loroupe, a road-running pioneer in the 1990s is a former world
marathon record-holder and has won the World Half Marathon three
“When you look at the Kenyan team, it is very strong. The best we
can talk of now. We have the three fastest women in the lineup along
with a world record holder. They can push each other,” she said.
Word record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei heads the Kenyan women’s
team. Jepkosgei was one of the finds of the 2017 season, setting
world records in the 10km, 15km and 20km events en route to her
1:04:52 world half marathon record in Prague.
Later in the year she took one second off that mark when she won in
Valencia in a world record time of 1:04:51.
Mary Wacera the silver medalist in 2014 and bronze medalist in 2016,
will be vying for her third successive podium finish.
Fancy Chemutai and Ruth Chepngetich, both of whom made big
breakthroughs last year, are also on the team, along with
Japan-based Pauline Kaveke.
“I opened the road for them, like a trail blazer,” said Loroupe. The
petite Kenyan great, will forever be remembered as a giant in
“I was proud to create history. Victory in the World Half marathon
opened many doors; I was invited to many top meets which helped me
financially support many kids, including my family,” she said.
In 1998 Loroupe committed to a heavy racing schedule, which included
three marathons and six half marathons across the year. Yet the
intense competitive workload seemed to bring the best out of her.
In 1999 Loroupe was in the best form of her career. In August she
set a national 10,000m record to take bronze at the IAAF World
Championships in Seville before clipping four seconds off her world
marathon record with a 2:20:43 performance in Berlin.
“I was tired but after years of running since a young age, it was
nothing hard; I loved what I did,” she explains. “I never do
anything if someone forces me to do something. I do it because of
love - it produces a strong healing energy.”