NAIROBI • Kenya’s Flomena Cheyech, a former Commonwealth Games champion, was looking forward to returning from maternity leave at the Suzhou Half Marathon in China on March 15.
She cut short her preparations as the world battled the coronavirus pandemic. A month down the line, there is no sign of sports competition returning, but that has not meant she will stop training.
Her focus is now on getting fit for the Singapore Marathon, which is traditionally held in December, though this year’s edition has yet to be launched.
“I have focused on running the marathon again in 2020, and I will continue training,” the 38-year-old said from Eldoret.
The extended time frame, she believes, will offer her enough time to recover and shake off the rust from two years without competitions.
“I do hope everything will be back to normal by the time we run at the Singapore Marathon in December,” she said.
She was second in Singapore in 2012 and was fourth at the London world marathon championships in 2017. She also won the Saitama Marathon that year. She is looking forward to the prospect of challenging for a spot in the Kenyan team for the Tokyo Olympics next year.
With training camps closed, she spends most of her time at home after her morning run. “Athletics is our job, but with most activities cancelled or postponed, we have no alternative but to do some parenting and help our children with their studies,” she said.
Compatriot Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele should have spent last week finalising their preparations for the London Marathon but the two best distance runners in history are instead out alone on the trails of East Africa not knowing when they will race again. Yesterday’s planned showdown between the only two men to have gone under 2hr 2min for the classic distance was an early victim of the pandemic.
Although the race has been rescheduled for Oct 4, it is far from certain if it will take place, in what form and whether the two superstars will be at the start line.
London Marathon race director Hugh Brasher said: “We are looking at probably 10 scenarios, and they are changing all the time.”
He added that staging an “elite-only” race was one of those options.