NAIROBI, September 12 – Olympic champion and World Half Marathon record holder Samuel Kamau Wanjiru has been included in a 14 man squad for this year’s World Half Marathon Championships in Rio de Janeiro.
Patrick Makau Musyoki and Francis Kibiwott who competed in last year’s championships in Udine are also in the team while Joseph Nganga, Mekubo Mogusu, Elijah Keitany and Stephen Kibiwott make their debut in the one day event which will be held on October 12.
Experienced Pamela Chepchumba leads the women’s team which also has Philies Ongori, Peninah Arusei, Julia Mumbi, Lenah Jemutai Cheruiyot, Philomena Cheyech and Pauline Wangui.
The Olympic champion has some unfinished business with the half marathon championships. Having gone in as a heavy favourite in Udine last year, he suffered a knee injury limping home in 51st place and he will be keen to put that record straight.
Musyoki finished second behind Zersanny Tadesse in last year’s event will be hoping to go one better.
For Arusei, Rio will offer a chance for redemption after her abysmal outing at the Olympics in Beijing. The 28 year old was a last minute inclusion in the team and she suffered the ignominy of being lapped in the women’s 10,000 metres race.
Kenya will hope to mount a successful defence of the team title they won last year.
Meanwhile, Two-time Olympic silver medallist and reigning World marathon champion, Catherine Ndereba, will lead the field of elite athletes at the Philadelphia Distance Run on September 21.
Ndereba, who had a stirring performance last month in the Olympic marathon en route to her silver medal, will be making her first race appearance since Beijing. A multiple ING Philadelphia Distance Run winner, Catherine is currently the women’s World marathon champion, a title she previously held in 2003.
"I am overjoyed at being back in Philadelphia to race. It’s been some time since my schedule has allowed me to run the ING Philadelphia Distance Run,” said Ndereba, who trains outside of Philadelphia.
“It’s great that this will be my first race after the Olympic Marathon. That’s my home training ground where I prepare for every marathon, so it’s great to come back home for a race."
The first four-time women’s winner at the Boston Marathon, 36 year old Ndereba boasts an impressive running resume. Her list of global achievements includes two victories at the Chicago Marathon and runner up finishes in the London and ING New York City marathons.