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Kenya's Jeptoo targets Amsterdam marathon


Nairobi, Oct 15 (IANS) Injury had taken the wind out of Kenya's Priscah Jeptoo's sails, but the 32-year-old is determined to claim her first win in the marathon when she lines up at the Amsterdam course on Sunday.

In her last performance in London, Jeptoo settled for the eighth spot, but the former London and New York champion is rearing to as she seeks to return to winning ways. Last year, she was sixth and fifth at the New York and London marathons, reports Xinhua.

"I had a difficult time in the last couple of years, but the last four months I have been training very well," Jeptoo said. "I left the problems behind and I hope to come close to my personal best."

Jeptoo will face a stiff challenge from Ethiopians Meselech Melkamu and Meseret Hailu. Jeptoo has a 2:20:15 personal best from the 2012 London Marathon but in 2014 struggled with injuries, including a broken leg.

"I know they are strong and they all target to win. But as I said, I am back and had very good training. I look forward to winning in Amsterdam and who knows, the world championships next year may just be my race if selected," she said.

To make the Kenya team, Jeptoo has to start picking up titles starting with Amsterdam and London or Boston next year.

She has also proved that she can run faster time and that could mean a course record in Amsterdam, which currently stands at 2:21:09, set in 2012 by Hailu, one of the women that will line up against Jeptoo.

More recently, the 26-year-old Ethiopian clocked 2:26:26 for second in Hamburg this year and 2:24:33 in Berlin a year ago.

Melkamu is also a legitimate threat. The 31-year-old beat Hailu in Hamburg this year in 2:21:54, not far from her 2:21:01 lifetime best set in 2012 when she won in Frankfurt.

This year's race also serves as the Dutch championship over the distance.

Khalid Choukoud, who ran 2:10:52 in Rotterdam in 2014, is the favourite in the men's race. Ruth van der Meijden, with a lifetime best of 2:35:15, is the favourite in the women's.



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