That was until things took a turn last Saturday.
Jepchirchir is the 2021 winner of the NYC marathon and the only athlete to have won the Olympic, NYC, and Boston Marathons. But now, there are doubts as to whether we will see her at the start line in the Big Apple this Sunday.
This isn’t the first time an injury has come in the way of Jepchirchir getting to the start of the NYC Marathon.
She was unable to defend her title last year as a result of a left gluteus injury, which occurred towards the end of the year and sidelined her for a part of the 2022 season.
The doctor diagnosed Jepchirchir with a three-centimeter tear in her gluteus and said time off was going to be critical to ensure full recovery. With the 2023 London Marathon in April, she decided to forego competing in New York, with the ultimate goal of returning to the Olympics.
Still, Jepchirchir says she only felt at 75% capacity during the London Marathon. Despite not being in top form, Jepchirchir still put down her second-fastest marathon time ever and finished third in 2:18:38.
Jepchirchir revealed her injury at a pre-race press conference, and although she still hopes to be at the line Sunday, she knows it may not be possible and revealed her frustrations.
“I’m not happy at all because then, when I’m preparing for something, then all of a sudden I get injured. I’m not happy, though. I accept because it’s part of it, training and injuries, but it’s disturbed me mentally, but I know I’ll be fit again.”
She and her personnel will make a decision on Saturday as to whether she will compete on Sunday.
Jepchirchir has made it clear that her main goal is to return to the Olympics to defend her marathon title.
However, her injury, especially if it prevents her from competing, has raised questions as to whether it will impact her chances of being selected for the team by the Kenyan Federation.
Jepchirchir said she was still confident that the federation would name her to Team Kenya for the Olympics. The Kenyan federation lays out no formal selection process.
“They [Kenyan federation] say that maybe, like me and Eliud [Kipchoge], we are going to defend [their Olympic marathon titles], and then they select [the remaining team members] through rankings.”
The women’s field of the NYC Marathon is stacked with decorated marathoners and is sure to be a gripping race. We can only hope that Jepchirchir is healthy enough to be among the strong women competing on Sunday.
The NYC Marathon will take place on Sunday, November 5, 2023, with a local start time of 8:00 a.m.