Stephen Kiprotich will lead a group of elite marathoners at the Source of Nile Half-Marathon Championships in Jinja today.
Ahead of a busy April and May, marathoners in the race for the three available quota slots to the Tokyo Olympics including 2012 Olympic champion Kiprotich are searching for race time.
“It is a packed field because most of them have had no races. A majority had races either cancelled or postponed because of Covid-19,” explained long-distance running coach Benjamin Njia.
Seven marathoners have beaten the qualification time of two hours, 11 minutes and 30 seconds but only the top three times earn quota places to the 42km road event come August 8 in Sapporo, Japan. The qualification window has been open since January 1, 2019 to April 5, 2020 and open again from December 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021.
Kiprotich ranks in fourth place with 2:08:31 among the seven men and he will use the Jinja event to gauge his body with a projected 42km race next month.
He will be up against others including Filex Chemonges whose national record time of 2:05:12 earned from a third place at the 2019 Toronto Marathon in Canada puts him top of that pile.
Jackson Kiprop and Robert Chemonges who are ranked fifth and sixth on that list are also in the fray among others for the event. The event has been staged by Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) following an outcry from the fraternity to have events in place.
Publicist Namayo Mawerere, UAF says the event has strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
“The main point here is that we will not accept spectators at the start and finish points for the event,” Mawerere said early this week.
“We would like to keep our athletes safe. People will however be allowed to stand by roadsides on the course of the race to watch the action,” he added.
Race to Olympics
BEST TIMES - UGANDANS
Oct 20, 2019: Filex Chemonges - Toronto Marathon (3rd, 2:05:12)
Apr 7, 2019: Fred Musobo - Daegu Marathon (2nd, 2:06:56)
Apr 7, 2019: Solomon Mutai - Vienna Marathon (3rd, 2:08:25)
Apr 28, 2019: Stephen Kiprotich - Hamburg Marathon (3rd, 2:08:31)
Jan 19, 2020: Jackson Kiprop - Mumbai Marathon (4th, 2:08:41)
Oct 27, 2019: Robert Chemonges - Rennes Marathon (1st, 2:09:03)
Apr 14, 2019: Alex Chesakit - Dakar Marathon (3rd, 2:16:05)
Nov 22, 2020: Phillip Kiplimo - Dodoma Marathon (1st, 2:17:26)