NAIROBI, July 22 – Berlin Half marathon champion Patrick Makau Musyoki left the country on Wednesday for the United States where he will compete in the New York half marathon slated for July 27.
The 23 year old will be among top Kenyan road racers who will grace the event which is in its third year. Others include Former London marathon champion Felix Limo, Rotterdam champion William Kipsang, James Kwambai and Richard Kiplagat.
Two time World champion Catherine Ndereba, Alice Timbilil, Rose Cheruiyot and Everline Lagat will carry the country’s in the women’s race.
Makau is the third-fastest man in history in the 21 kilometre race having clocked 58:56 to win the Berlin Half-Marathon last year.
This year, he has already won four major half marathons and was in New York early in the year when he won the Healthy Kidney 10K race.
Limo who has won three of his five World Marathon Majors races will be making his debut while Kipsang who set a new course record in Rotterdam will be looking to improve his personal best time of 1:00:27.
Three time Olympian Hendrick Ramaala, Tadesse Tola and Worku Beyi will provide stiff challenge for the Kenyans.
A four-time champion of Boston Marathon and a two-time winner of Chicago Marathon, Ndereba will use the race as part of her preparations for Beijing Olympics. She won the inaugural New York Half Marathon in 2006 and last year she lost by a second to Hilda Kibet in a sprint finish.
The 36 year old has the fastest time in the field of 1:07:54 and has clinched an amazing 17 victories out of 24 known attempts at the distance making her a firm favourite.
Timbilil who recently moved to road running and was at the World Road Running championships in Udine last year will be making her debut in the race while 32 year old Rose Cheruiyot will also be running in the race for the first time.
Other notable athletes in the race include 29 year old Benita Johnson who was the runner-up to Ndereba in 2006, Yuri Kano of Japan, who was fourth place in the half marathon in each of the last two years and Madai Perez who finished six seconds behind winner Hilda Kibet in 32:49 at the New York Mini 10K race.
A prize purse of $70,000 will be at stake with the male and female winners each receiving $10,000.