Tue, 02 Mar 2021

NAIROBI, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- Hellen Obiri, the reigning world 5,000m champion, aims to run a fast time as she makes her half marathon debut at the 2021 Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Half Marathon, Al Marjan Island on Feb. 19.

Obiri also holds the Olympic silver medal in 5,000m from the 2016 Olympics and is the former world indoor and outdoor champion in 3,000m and 5,000m.

She ran her first road race in December 2020 in Barcelona, winning the 10km race in 30.53.

"Last December, I ran my first road race, 10km road race in Barcelona and timing 30.53, the race gave me the confidence to continue with my preparations towards the road races, I don't know what is in store for me in RAK, but I will be glad to post good personal best in half marathon on my debut," Obiri told Xinhua on Wednesday.

Obiri, 31, is the sixth fastest runner in the 5,000m track with a time of 14.18.37 and hopes to fully transit to marathons after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games.

"My aim is to win an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo before concentrating on marathons in the future. Gold medal in Olympics will mean I have accomplished winning a gold medal in all major championships and that is my target," said Obiri, who trains in Ngong town in the outskirts of the capital Nairobi.

At the 2019 World Cross Country in Aarhus, Denmark, Obiri won the gold medal, becoming the first woman to win outdoors, indoors and cross-country individual titles at the senior level to emulate Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia.

Meanwhile, world half marathon record holder Kibiwott Kandie will take on the former world record holder Geoffrey Kamworor and world champion Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda at the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon.

Kamworor who is on a comeback trail after a motorbike accident in June 2020 that left him with head and ankle injuries, will be using the police cross country championships on Friday to prepare for his upcoming competitions.

"It's time to race again; I can confidently say I have fully recovered from the injuries that forced me to miss out on competitions last year, including the World Half Marathon. I will be competing at the National Police Cross Country in Nairobi on Friday as part of RAK preparations where I expect an exciting race," Kamworor, the 2019 New York City Marathon champion, told Xinhua on Wednesday.

The RAK organizers have also included Ethiopian Shura Kitata, who boasts a personal best of 59.47 and the 2020 London Marathon champion alongside his fellow countryman Jemal Yimer in the stellar lineup.

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