Sally Kipyego, photo by PhotoRun.net
Sally Kipyego had a tough NYC Marathon in 2015. After her win in RNR San Jose Half Marathon, she told @runblogrun that she wanted to do well in New York. Here is Carolyn Mather’s feature on Sally’s desires to win, a few days before New York!
Sally Kipyego Looking for a Good Marathon Finish in New York
By Sabrina Yohannes
Sally Kipyego has run the TCS New York City Marathon. She just hasn’t finished it. On Sunday, that will change.
“I am finishing: one way or the other, I am crossing the finish line!” the two-time global track medalist from Kenya told RunBlogRun with a laugh on Friday. “I’ve trained so hard, I’ve prepared so well, and so this is the year to finish, and finish well.”
With a former course-record 1:08:31 win at the NYC Half Marathon in 2014 and a 30:26.37 personal best for 10,000m on the track under her belt, Kipyego has reason to expect good marathon results. But her maiden attempt at the distance in New York in 2015 didn’t go so well.
“A few things went wrong last year,” she said. “I didn’t have enough time, really, to be honest, to prepare for a proper marathon. I thought I was going to be able to get away with it, and I just couldn’t.”
The US-based Kipyego, who ran the August 2015 world championships 10,000m in Beijing, placing fifth there, said she had trained for about seven to eight weeks before the November 1 marathon last year.
“I had issues also with my leg coming in,” she added, describing an overuse injury known as iliotibial band syndrome. “I had a knee IT band syndrome coming in. I traveled to New York about 10 days earlier to try to get that fixed.”
Once she was in the marathon, a mishap occurred.
“I missed my water at 30K and then I made a mistake – a rookie mistake,” she said. “I went back for it. When I went back to get my water, they had already left, and so I was dropped from the lead pack at that point. But instead of working my way slowly to the lead pack, I forced it and tried to push it hard. And that was that. I just realized that I pushed too hard and there just was nothing to give.”
So far this year, things have been going a lot better.
“My body is good, and my training has gone really well,” said Kipyego. “I’ve done more long runs now compared to last year.”
A 10,000m silver medalist at the 2011 world championships in Daegu and 2012 Olympics in London, Kipyego tried out for the Kenyan Olympic team again in 2016. She contested the 10,000m at the national trials on June 30, but after placing sixth and missing making the team, she turned her attention to the marathon.
“I knew by July I was running a fall marathon,” she said. “I had enough time to really have a block of training that I could manipulate however I wanted it. It was good.”
A member of the Oregon Track Club Elite, Kipyego said the longest run she did was 25 miles.
“I’ve trained mostly by myself, but also, I was in Flagstaff for two months,” she said,
listing a few of the American runners she ran with at altitude in Arizona, all of whom are entered in Sunday’s race. “I got to run with Janet [Bawcom] and Kim Conley and Lanni [Marchant of Canada]. So there were a few people, and I got to stay with Matt Llano. My husband and I stayed at his house for the training block, so that was fantastic, because we got to run a few times.”
Kipyego’s husband, Kevin Chelimo, also ran the New York marathon last year, placing 10th in 2:15:49. Twelve months later, she expects to join her husband as a marathon finisher, and one with a solid debut finish.
“I will be cautious on Sunday, but I will be cautious because of what happened last year, but I feel good about it,” she said.
This summer, Kipyego ran 14:43.98 at the Prefontaine Classic 5000m in Eugene, Oregon, and 32:37.11 for 10,000m at altitude in Eldoret, Kenya, but she did not declare any time or place goals for her maiden marathon finish.
“Marathon is new for me,” she said, adding that she does, however, have a time frame in mind. “Depending on how the race unfolds, I’ll make those decisions within the race. But I just want to have a good experience. That’s the most important thing.”