• “Transitioning from track to road has not been smooth. I now have longer training sessions. There’s a lot to learn when it comes to pacing and distance but I am picking up slowly,” she said.
• And even as she moves to the roads, Obiri revealed that her best moment on track was when she won her first gold at the 2017 World Championships in London.
Two-time world 5000m champion Hellen Obiri insists she is under no pressure as she prepares to make her full marathon debut at the New York City marathon set for November 6.
Instead, the two-time Olympic 5000m silver medalist said she is excited about the debut, terming it as a 'new experience'.
“I am excited to be making my debut at the New York City Marathon," she said.
"It’s a new experience for me. I am not under any pressure since this is a challenge I am ready to take.”
Obiri feels she is ready for this new experience after dominating the track and the shorter road running distances, where she started with 800m in 2011.
Obiri went on to make her half-marathon debut in 2021 when she placed third at the N Kolay Istanbul Half Marathon at 1:04:51.
She returned to N Kolay Istanbul Half Marathon this year and also competed at the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon, where she placed first and second in 1:04:48 and 1:04:22 respectively.
She ran her last race on track during the World Championships in Oregon, where she clinched a silver medal in the 10,000m in a time of 30:10:02.
Obiri said her target is to run well and finish the race, with a place on the podium a welcome bonus.
“I just want to run well and finish the race. I also want to gain experience. Like every other athlete, I will also want to finish among the top three but that’s not my main goal,” Obiri said.
Obiri, who trains in Ngong, said the transition to the marathon has not been easy.
“Transitioning from track to road has not been smooth. I now have longer training sessions. There’s a lot to learn when it comes to pacing and distance but I am picking up slowly,” she said.
In addition, Obiri remains coy about her chances of featuring in the marathon at next year’s World Championships in Budapest. “It’s up to my management and coach to decide,” Obiri said.
In New York, Obiri will be in the company of Kenyan compatriots including defending champion Peres Jepchirchir, two-time world marathon champion Edna Kiplagat, Viola Cheptoo, debutant Sharon Lokedi, 2013 New York City Marathon winner Caroline Rotich and Grace Kahura.
Jepchirchir is the fastest in the field with a personal best time of 2:17:16. Kiplagat, Cheptoo, Rotich and Kahura have respective personal best times of 2:19:50, 2:22:44, 2:23:22 and 2:30:32.
The Kenyan septet will be competing against other elite marathoners including but not limited to the world marathon champion Gotytom Gebreslase of Ethiopia (2:18:11) and world marathon silver medalist Lornah Salpeter (2:17:45), who will be making her debut on the streets of New York.
However, Obiri is not worried about the competition. “This is my first marathon race and I am not afraid of the big names. I am training well and I just want to post a good time,” Obiri said.
And even as she moves to the roads, Obiri revealed that her best moment on track was when she won her first gold at the 2017 World Championships in London.
Her worst, she said, was when she finished eighth at the 2012 London Olympics.