Geoffrey Kamworor, Rodgers Kwemoi, photo by Athletics Kenya
Justin Lagat wrote this piece about his interview with Rodgers Kwemoi, who is racing the Istanbul half Marathon on Sunday, March 27, 2022.
The Istanbul half marathon course is one of the fastest courses in the world. This can be supported by the fact that Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich broke the women’s world record by 29 seconds after running 1:04.02 last year in April, although the record would only last for about 4 months before Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw lowered it to 1:03.44 and Letesenbet Gedey following that with the current record of 1:02.52.
Rodgers Kwemoi who recently made his half-marathon debut at the Valencia half marathon last October where he ran 59:16 before improving his personal best time again at Ras Al-Khaimah running an amazing 58:30 to finish second behind Jacob Kiplimo, has set his eyes on running a fast time this weekend on the 27th of March 2022 at the Istanbul Half Marathon.
“I believe that the men’s course record still stands at over 59 minutes because the main contenders in the strong elite field that was running here the last time may have been more focused on watching each other’s moves to ensure that they won the race regardless of the times they ran. This time around, I will be focused on lowering the course record, hopefully to a time below 59 minutes,” Kwemoi, who trains alongside Geoffrey Kamworor, said. Kamworor was edged by Kibiwott Kandie who set a new course record of 59:35 to finish second in 59:38 last year, and with a personal best time of over a minute faster than the course record and constant interaction with him, Kwemoi must be having a clear picture of what he intends to do in Istanbul this weekend.
“My half marathon run in RAK boosted my confidence on running the half marathon distance and I now know that the training I have been doing at the Global Camp in Kaptagat is the right one for me to do well in the half marathon distance.
Had I not made the mistake of staying too far behind in the leading pack at RAK, perhaps the results of the race may have been a little bit different. It would appear that most of the runners at the front of the leading pack were sure that Kiplimo was going to win the race and simply let him break away and build a gap. By the time I realized what was going on, the gap was already big and I ended up becoming the pacesetter for the chasing group as we tried hard to catch up with him,” he said.
Some of the names that have so far been added to the Istanbul Half marathon men’s elite field include Daniel Mateiko with a PB of 58:26, Solomon Berihu with a PB of 59:17, and Huseyidin Esa with 59:32.
Kwemoi is excited about his new half marathon distance, but at the same time, he appears to be torn between two worlds.
The training environment, the support at the camp, and the training mates at the camp in Kaptagat, which include the world’s greatest marathon runner, Eliud Kipchoge, are making it so easy and tempting for Kwemoi to move from the track to the road races. But, he still feels that he has got some unfinished business on track. He still remains one of the medal hopefuls for Kenya in the men’s 10,000m event at the upcoming World Athletics Championships in Oregon, USA this July.
He was the best placed Kenyan at the recent Tokyo Olympic Games having finished 7th with Rhonex Kipruto finishing 9th and Weldon Langat finishing 20th.
“After the Istanbul Half Marathon, my focus will then shift to the 10,000m event where I hope to represent my country in Eugene, Oregon,” said Kwemoi.