14 November 2013

Kenya: Glasgow Next

Fresh from clinching the world marathon majors top prize as well as the New York marathon race, Priscah Jeptoo has turned her attention to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in July/August next year.

After landing at the Eldoret International Airport yesterday from the United States, Jeptoo said she would not turn down an invitation for the Commonwealth Games if offered one by Athletics Kenya.

"The Commonwealth and Olympic Games gold medals are missing in my medals cabinet and I am working hard to get them. If AK invite me to run at the Commonwealth Games I will be more than grateful,"she said.

Nearly all of Eldoret turned up to welcome Jeptoo who won the ING New York City Marathon last week in a time of 2:25.07. Friends, family and top cream athletes were all on hand to celebrate her achievement.

Former world marathon champion Abel Kirui, former world 800m gold medallist Janeth Jepkosgei, current Chicago marathon champion Rita Jeptoo, Paralympic medallist Abraham Tarbei, Paris marathon champion Peter Some and Jeptoo's coach Claudio Berradelli were all on hand.

Ululations rent the air, almost bringing business to a standstill at the Eldoret International Airport where the heroine was offered a sip of the fermented milk (mursik) and garlanded with sinendet, the interwoven grass reserved for heroes and heroines.

A convoy of vehicles snaked all the way to Masaba village in Nandi county where a bigger event had been organised for her. While the 2012-2013 World Majors prize was US$500,000 (Sh43.2m), the New York marathon win added US$100,000 (Sh8.62m) to her bank account.

"I am very happy for my victory. It did not come easily. I had to train very hard for it," she said. Jeptoo who also won the London marathon said the New York City course was relatively easy.

"This was my great achievement. I must thank those who supported and encouraged me because they believed in me,"Jeptoo said. Her husband Dallas Chepsiror said he supported Jeptoo through her training programme and feels all her hard work has been vindicated.

"God does wonders and we offer all our gratitude to him. I am very delighted for my wife," he said. Nandi deputy governor, Dominic Biwott who received the star in her Kapsabet home on behalf of the governor Cleophas Lagat said the county would award individually athletes during the second week of December for their exemplary performance in 2013 season.

Athletes led by Kirui had appealed to the county government to make it as a policy to allocate winners of various meets commercial plots in Kapsabet and Nandi-Hills to invest their money. He said it is sad that after winning, athletes went round looking for plots to construct buildings.

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