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Kabuu shifts to Iten for London preps

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NAIROBI, Kenya, February 10- Dubai Marathon runner-up, Lucy Kabuu has shifted her training base to Iten in readiness for her second appearance over the distance at London in April.

Nyahururu based Kabuu who blasted to the second fastest debut over the distance late January when she clocked 2:19:34 in Dubai is keen to take advantage of high altitude training in the Rift Valley hub of distance running ahead of the London test.

“She received confirmation today (Friday) from London organisers that she has been added to the field and we have decided to step up our training in Iten ahead of the race,” Jeremiah Maina, her spouse and trainer said.

“We decided to move to Iten straight away so that she can train in the same region as the runners she will face in London in an effort to ensure she is at an equal footing ahead of the race,” Maina explained.

Her addition to the deep London field is set to cause ripples since she will be facing four of the Kenyan London Olympics probables after Athletics Kenya (AK) declined to add the 2006 Commonwealth champion’s name to the roster following her blistering performance.

Defending champion, Ethiopia’s Aselefech Mergia caught up with Kabuu who had briefly held the lead in the closing stages before employing her marathon running pedigree to breast the tape in 2:19:31 during the Dubai race.

Kabuu, a two-time Olympian nonetheless raced to the second fastest ever female marathon debut behind to world record holder, Britain’s Paula Radcliffe who opened her ultimate distance account with 2:18:56, to earn $100,000 (Sh8.5m) underlining the sublimity of her performance.

AK chairman, Isaiah Kiplagat, hailed Kabuu’s performance at the time but said it would not alter the London Olympics arithmetic.

“We are aware of the commendable time she has run and congratulations to her in becoming the second fastest Kenyan woman in history on her first marathon.

“But we are not going to change our Olympics marathon team even if anyone breaks a world record but for Kabuu, we are sure she will get better with experience and is one for the future,” Kiplagat said.

World champion, Edna Kiplagat, London winner, Mary Keitany who motored to 2:19:19 at the Olympics city last year, Berlin champion, Florence Kiplagat, Daegu silver winner, Priscah Jeptoo, Sharon Cherop who completed the 1-2-3 and veteran Lydia Cheromei, who featured in the Dubai race are AK’s probables for the London Olympics.

Cheromei who made her national team debut in 1991 aged 13 was a runner-up to Mergia in last year’s edition of the Dubai’s race ran 2:21:30 for sixth.

Kiplagat, Keitany, Kiplagat and Jeptoo are in the London field in what promises to be a titanic tussle for the Kenyan Olympics ticket.

Kabuu has been in top form ahead of Dubai winning the senior women’s race at the Kenya Police Cross Championships on January 14, New Delhi Half (November 27/67:04/PB), South Shields Half (September 18/67:06) and the Great Bupa Southern Road Race in Edinburgh (October 2/32:28).

She took up road running after almost three seasons out with Achilles heel injury saying her foot could not handle track running. Amid her injury nightmare, the couple welcomed daughter Angel.

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