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Athletics Kenya says it will host Olympic Trials Marathon

Athletics Kenya announced it will host an Olympic Trials Marathon in February in order to select its team for the Games in Rio de Janeiro next summer, according to a report by Capital FM today.

David Okeyo, AK’s vice president, made the announcement, saying that the trials would help the federation prepare the team properly ahead of the Games in August.

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The proposed date for the trial race is February 14, but it remains unclear whether such a race would follow the US example of first-past-the-post or whether selectors would have the option of picking athletes who decided not to compete.

However one insider we spoke with said the trials race is unlikely to occur. “I’ll believe it when I see it,” he said. “The Marathon Majors and other big races won’t want this race to happen as it’ll affect the spring marathons and AK often come up with plans like this that are not followed through on.”

However Okeyo believes a February cut-off will help their leading athletes prepare properly and avoid a similar fate to this year’s World Championships, where their highest place finisher in the men’s race was Mark Korir in 22nd.

“Why is it that we have good marathon runners who perform well in city events yet when we go to Championships and Olympics we don’t do well?” he said. “We are coming up with a plan and policy which is being developed and as soon as we agree, we will let you know the best way we will select the marathoners.

“The marathoners who would like to participate in Olympics must run their last race in February and the rules that will follow will be developed by the Board and technical officials.”

The only leading marathon which could conceivably incorporate the Kenyan Trials before the cut-off deadline is Dubai in January 22, which would leave a threadbare Kenyan participation at the Marathon Majors in Tokyo (February 28), Boston (April 18) and London (April 24).

Image courtesy of Photorun
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Cathal Dennehy

Cathal Dennehy

Cathal Dennehy is a freelance journalist, a once-serious, now-retired athlete who writes for a number of international publications in the running industry. He has won two sports-writing awards, the Peter Ball Memorial Award in Ireland and the Wills Writing Award in the UK. Nationally, he previously worked for the Sunday Tribune, Irish Runner magazine and has written for the Sunday Independent, Irish Independent, the Guardian and The Independent in Britain. He is a regular contributor to Running Times, Runner's World, RunBlogRun and the IAAF website.
His banter levels are often poor, occasionally exceptional.

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