The women's race at the TCS World 10K Bengaluru on Sunday will bring together two of the world's leading distance runners who will be using the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Gold Label Road Race as a vital part of their preparations for the IAAF World Championships Doha, scheduled later in 2019.
Defending Bengaluru champion Agnes Tirop took the bronze medal at the last world championships in London in 2017 and the Kenyan wants to move further up the podium in Doha in just under five months' time.
"I enjoy running on the roads and especially in Bengaluru as I had a very nice experience here last year (where she won and set a course record of 31:19) but my focus is still on the track. I may switch to road running full time in a few years but only after the 2020 Olympics," said Tirop, at a press conference here.
"I'm coming here in good shape, I can't say how fast I am going to run but compared to last year I feel one year stronger," added Tirop, in response to a question about how her fitness is compared to that of 12 months ago.
Tirop will be making her 2019 racing debut on Sunday.
By contrast, Bahrain's Kenya-born reigning world marathon champion Rose Chelimo has already had a relatively busy year with four high quality races.
By her own admission, her results have been disappointing compared to the last two years, when she not only won the global marathon title but went on to become the continental champion over the classic distance at the Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia in August 2018.
Chelimo's most recent outing saw her finish down in seventh place at the Gifu Half Marathon in Japan in April and she finished a modest 41st at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in March.
Nevertheless, Chelimo put on a brave face on these recent results. "Of course, I hope to defend my title in Doha, everything is aiming to that and I'm not too worried about the fact that the marathon there will be hot.
"However, I have been preparing specially for this race for the last two weeks and I have prepared well."
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