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Kenyans Alfred Kering and Valentine Kipketer chasing fast
times in quest to conquer tough Nagano Marathon course

by John Kwoba Nairobi (Xinhua) -- Alfred Kering and Valentine Kipketer of Kenya will start as favorites at the Nagano Marathon, an IAAF Bronze Label road race, on Sunday.

Kering is the fastest man in the field with a best of 2:07:11 set in Paris in 2010, one of three athletes who have run under two hours and eight minutes.

The 39-year-old hopes a good run in Nagano will help boost his credential to make the Kenya marathon team to the World Championships later in the year in Qatar.

"I still hope that I will be considered in the Kenya team.

"But I have to win first in Nagano and hope the selectors will offer me a chance to represent the country.

"Kenya has strong athletes and breaking into the national team is always anyone’s dream," said Kering on Saturday.

Valentine Kipketer is the clear favorite on the women’s side.

The 26-year-old has a marathon best of 2:23:02, set at the 2013 Amsterday Marathon, one of three occasions she’s dipped under the 2:25 barrier.

The course record of 2:24:55, set by Elfenesh Alemu in 2000, could be within reach.

"I hope to win and want to do it in fast time.

"The challenge is to set a new course record, but that will depend on the weather," said Kipketer.

             

 

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