Safaricom Kericho Road Race: Cardiff Half Marathon winner Chelimo bounces back

Safaricom Kericho Road Race: Cardiff Half Marathon winner Chelimo bounces back

Safaricom Kericho Road Race: Cardiff Half Marathon winner Chelimo bounces back

Joan Chelimo (554) lines up for Safaricom Kericho 10km run on Saturday

Almost two years out of athletics limelight, 2014 Cardiff Half Marathon winner Joan Chelimo has bounced back to the athletic circles.

Chelimo made her comeback on Saturday during the Safaricom Kericho 10km road race finishing an impressive sixth.

The athlete last took part at the 2014 Cardiff Half Marathon in October before going for a maternity leave where she was blessed with a baby girl on May 23 last year.

“I am very impressed by today’s performance considering that it was my first race since I went for a maternity break in the year 2014,”Jelimo who trains in Iten said.

Having struggled to reclaim her form during her training after giving birth last year, Chelimo is now confident of her former glory.

“I registered wonderful results on my comeback and this came after dedicated months of training and sacrifice,” She explained.

Chelimo basks in the glory of 1:11.52 personal best she clocked at the 2014 Krems half marathon in Austria as well as 53.43  Bilbao 15km race in Spain among other performances.

“My performances at the international stage has been good and I am focused on better things now that I am back again on the road,”

Before going for the break, she was under Ran Fast management however currently she is training individually hoping to get a new management.

Her target is to do well in a half marathon in France in a month’s time saying she was using the Kericho event to prepare for it.

“In a month’s time I am set to take part in half marathon and 10km race in France and this is part of my preparation. I wanted to test my endurance,” She explained.

With many athletes’ dream being to compete in either Olympics or World championships in their country’s colors, Chelimo is hoping to actualize the same.

“World cross country will be held next year in Kampala and I am training for it hoping that I will make the team. I have been yearning to run for Kenya in an international competition but I haven’t gotten a chance,”

“Let me prove my mettle from now and next year I may make the marathon team for the IAAF World Championships in London,” She hoped.

“When the IAAF World Half Marathon was underway in Cardiff, I felt good that it was run at the same course I secured victory prior to the event,” She said.

Her path to athletics career almost ended when she lost a chance at Texas Tec University for a full scholarship she had secured after completing her secondary school studies.

Chelimo ,an alumini of Kerotet Girls, completed her studies in the year 2008 and enrolled for a scholarship camp at Chepkero in Kaptagat.

“I started as a scholarship athlete at Chepkero camp and I got a scholarship in 2010 at Texas Tec University but I lost it since I could not raise money for SAT exams. I came from a humble background,” She narrated.

She pressed on though, participating in local races and saving little amounts she won from the competitions which she used to apply for a passport.

“I was determined to be a professional and successful athlete hence I saved the money I got and paid for my passport,”

Then luck came when she was spotted by an agent during one of the local races “I got an agent from Spain and that is how I started competing in several races abroad,”Chelimo shared.

Chelimo studied in the same school with Paris marathon winner Visiline Jepkesho who represented Kenya at the women’s marathon in Rio Olympic Games, “She mentored me while still at school and we use to run together in schools games. I hope to run in Team Kenya one day,” She said.

She concluded by lauding Safaricon by coming back to support the return of the Kericho Road race saying this will offer more opportunities for runners in the South Rift as many young women seek to use such road races not only to gauge their strength but to bounce to the scene for the very first time.

"I thank Safaricom for bringing this race back as this gives many of us a chance to progress in our career." She concluded.

Read more on : Athletics

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