World marathon champion Ruth Chepng’etich hopes to end a coronavirus ravaged season on a high on the last day of the year when she lines up for the San Silvestre Vallecana 10-kilometre road Thursday night.

Chepng’etich will be up against Ethiopia’s World Half Marathon bronze medalist Yalemzerf Yehualaw among other invited athletes.

The two last met in October during the New Delhi Half Marathon where Yalemzerf bagged victory in one hour, four minutes and 46 seconds with Chepng’etich second in 1:05.06 and Ethiopia’s Ababel Yeshaneh third in 1:05.21.

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way races are organised and today’s race in the Spanish city is no exception.

Elite athletes are the only ones who will compete with this years’ race on a 2.5-kilometre loop “bubble” at Ensanche de Vallecas, as one way of protecting the athletes with the possibility of mingling with the public.

Olympic dream

The women’s race will start at 8.30pm Kenyan time with the men’s race going off one hour later with Chepng’etich seeking to wrestle the title currently held by Ethiopia after Hellen Bekele Tola won the race last year.

“It has been a difficult year for athletes but I’m happy because this is my third race and I will be running my own race. I have prepared well and I will be expecting a good competition eyeing a place in the podium,” said Chepng’etich.

“It’s my dream to compete in the Olympic Games and I have to start preparing early. I’m just using these races for speed work as we wait for next year which we hope things will ease off.”

In Italy, five Kenyan women will line up for Boclassic 10-kilometre road race with a different course expected to be used due to Covid-19 restrictions. World 5,000 metres silver medalist Margaret Chelimo leads compatriots who include Janet Kisa, Norah Tanui, Dorcas Tuitoek and Gloria Kite in the city of Bolozano.

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