World 3000m steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech will be hoping for the perfect ending to her season when she competes in the women’s 10km at the San Silvestre Vallecana road race on New Year’s Eve.
The 31-year-old will be returning to action just over a fortnight after she secured her place on the plane to Bathurst, Australia, for February’s World Cross Country Championships.
Chepkoech clocked 06:11.1 to finish third in the senior women’s 2km race during the national trials at the Kenya Prisons Training College in Ruiru, which earned her the right to fly the country’s flag at the international level once again.
The result was the latest in a string of positive outcomes for the National Police Service (NPS) officer who finished second in the women’s 10km race at the Standard Chartered Marathon in October.
She also won the 15km race at the NN Zevenheuvelenloop meet in the Netherlands in late November.
Despite her latest positive showings in cross country and road races, the 2019 World 3000m steeplechase champion will be well-aware of the humongous challenge that awaits her in Spain – what with the star-studded startlist on show.
One of these threats will come in the form of Burundian Francine Niyonsaba who only a fortnight ago won the senior women’s race at the Cross Internacional de Venta de Baños meet in Spain.
The two-time world indoor champion, who was forced to transition to the long-distance races by World Athletics’ regulations on testosterone levels among female athletes, is increasingly making her mark on track and road races.
Apart from her win in Spain, Niyonsaba also notched top victories in the women’s 3000m at the Diamond League meetings in Doha and Lausanne in May and August respectively.
Also hopeful of capping the year on a high is Ethiopian Tsehay Gemechu – African 5000m champion – who will be keen on etching herself in the memory books of the race by becoming the third successive Ethiopian to win the race.
World 10km record holders Yalemzerf Yehualaw and Degitu Azimeraw are the other Ethiopians to have won the previous two editions of the road race.
The San Silvestre Vallecana race has been held for the past 58 years in the Spanish borough of Vallecana and is a favourite for many Kenyan runners who have won its past editions.