Irene Jerotichi – Cyclone, winner of women’s marathon
What is special about the Greatest Race on Earth?
Participating in GROE makes me very proud and I really enjoy being part of a team.  I want to transmit to my team-mates the determination and desire to succeed that I have.

What do you hope to achieve in Nairobi?
I am determined to run a PB, finish in the top three, setting my team off on our journey to try to win the Women’s Challenge.  The experience will help me grow as a person and as an athlete.

How have your preparations been going?
I have been training twice a day, an hour in the morning and then an hour in the evening. I only take Sundays off – to go to Church!

I’ve run my personal best, so I am very happy!  The course was excellent and I congratulate the organisers and route planners. It was warm towards the end though which made it difficult. 

I prepared well for this marathon and feel delighted to be a winner in front of my home crowd Kenya. I was being pushed ‘go go’ by the spectators so I had to find more to strength to finish first.

Winning here is very important for me because I start well for my team. I’m a winner personally and my team is also a winner in the Women’s Challenge.  It’s special because my relatives and friends are here watching and cheering.

China Team (all-women team, unofficial)

Name: Zhang Xin
Age: 19
Occupation: Professional athlete
PB: 2:28:05
Kilometres run a week: 150

What does participation in The Greatest Race on Earth mean to you?
It’s a great honour to be part of the biggest and most famous marathon tournament in the world. I must be focused, train hard and commit 100%. The valuable experience of this event will be the milestone of my career.

How does it feel to be running as part of a team?
There is difference in the psychology. Being part of my team, my result will impact the overall team result. I care about the preparation of the team and their results in each race. Sending my encouragement to my team-mates will be the biggest support I can give to my side.

How do you manage your training around your work and family commitments?
I’m living with my parents and am the only child. It is important to have good time management and maintain good communication with family and friends. They fully support me and hope for a good result for me in each race. This helps greatly in finding time to train.

What do you hope to achieve by competing in The Greatest Race on Earth?
I hope to break my personal record and help my team to get a good result.
I hope that participation will help me run in more overseas marathons as these will help to build my self-confidence.

Post-marathon quote
“I’m a little bit disappointed because I thought I’d win the women’s marathon, but this time I finished just second. It was difficult to breathe, maybe due to the high altitude.  I hope my other team members will do a good job and be the Women’s Challenge champions.”

South Africa (all-women team, unofficial)

Name: Farwa Mentoor
Age: 33
Occupation: Professional athlete
PB: 2:54:00
Kilometres run a week: 190

What does participation in The Greatest Race on Earth mean to you?     
I still cannot believe that I am part of this event. It is definitely one of the highlights of my career.

How have you achieved the running career you now have?
I started running at a very young age, about 9 years old. I was in the teaching profession when I ran the Comrades Marathon in 2000 and to my amazement finished in 4th position. This opened several doors in the athletics arena for me and I have since turned professional.

What do you hope to achieve by competing in The Greatest Race on Earth?
I want to run a good time and set the stage for my team-mates in the rest of their marathons. I want to set a time as close to three hours as possible, and hopefully beat my PB. I think also it will focus my running career on an international level.

How does it feel to be running as part of a team?
It is a bit nerve-wracking for me running the first marathon of the series as I realise that the other team members will be watching my performance. I must set the best pace I can for the rest of the challenge.

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