World half marathon champ Jepchirchir sets sights on world title in Oregon
Kenya’s world half-marathon record holder Peres Jepchirchir has announced she will attempt to do what only one other woman has done in history - hold both the Olympic and world titles concurrently.
Portugal’s Rose Mota, who won the world title at Rome in 1987 before running to the Olympic gold at Seoul in 1988 is the only athlete to have achieved the feat.
Now, Jepchirchir who is the joint winner of the World Marathon Majors (WMM) 2020-21 series with countrywoman Joyciline Jepkosgei, has set sights on winning gold at the Oregon 2022 World Championships in the Summer.
On Tuesday, Jepkosgei was announced in the elite field of the 2022 Boston Marathon in April, the first WMM race of this year.
“I have started preparations for the Boston Marathon, I know it is a tough course and race, but I will do my best to be on the podium. I will be happy if I am selected to represent my country at the World Athletics Championships in the USA, Oregon,” the Olympic champion said on Thursday.
After becoming the second Kenyan female to win the Olympic title in Tokyo last summer, the 28-year-old ran 2:22:39 on Nov. 7, 2021, becoming the first person to win the Olympic gold medal and the New York City Marathon in the same year.
In Japan, Jepchirchir sprinted clear of silver winner and compatriot - world record holder Brigid Kosgei (2:27:36) - to stop the timer at 2:27:20 for gold and the Kenyan 1-2.
Her outstanding performances in 2021 saw her receive the State honor of the Order of the Grand Warrior during the country’s Independence Day celebrations by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Dec. 12, 2021. On April 18, she is due to take on Jepkosgei in what has been billed as the fastest ever assembled women’s field of the Boston Marathon in what will be her debut at the event.
Meanwhile, Jepchirchir has been named the Sports Journalists Association of Kenya (SJAK) Sports Personality for the month of November.
Jepchirchir won the award after her sizzling performance in November, where she beat a seasoned deep field to win the New York City Marathon in 2 hours, 22 minutes, 39 seconds ahead of compatriot Viola Lagat.
To win the monthly award, Jepchirchir went home with a state-of-the-art LG Artificial Intelligence washing machine worth Ksh92,000 and a glittering trophy engraved with her name.
Jepchirchir, who was awarded by LG Corporates Communication Manager, Maureen Kemunto on Thursday morning at her home in Kapsabet beat top stars to the award like the men’s New York marathon winner, Albert Korir, Tennis sensational Angela Okutoyi, who won the 2021 Africa U-18 Championship and Rally champion Baldev Chager.
Other nominees were Kenya Sevens player Herman Humwa, Lucy Cheruiyot who won Mexico City Marathon and Perister Bosire who won gold in the over 78 kg division at the Dakar African Judo Open.
Speaking after receiving the award, a jolly Jepchirchir said the award will motivate her to a better season this year which will be headlined by the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, USA.
“I am so happy to be recognized by LG, I feel so honoured, this is a big inspiration to me ahead of the busy season. This washing machine has come in handy and I thank LG and SJAK for that,” an elated Jepchirchir said.