Kenya omits fastest active men’s, women’s marathoners from Olympic team

Mary Keitany
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Kenya named its six-person Olympic marathon team on Tuesday. It includes neither the men’s world-record holder nor the second-fastest woman of all time.

The team, according to its Twitter account:

Eliud Kipchoge — Berlin, London winner
Stanley Biwott — New York winner
Wesley Korir — top Kenyan at Boston (fourth)

Jemima Sumgong — London winner
Visiline Jepkesho — Paris winner
Helah Kiprop — Tokyo winner

Missing from the men’s team is world-record holder Dennis Kimetto, as reported last week to little surprise.

Tuesday’s revelation was that the women’s team does not include Mary Keitany, the 2014 and 2015 New York City Marathon winner and second-fastest woman of all time. Only the retired Paula Radcliffe has bettered Keitany’s 2:18:37 from the 2012 London Marathon.

Keitany won the 2014 and 2015 New York City Marathons but struggled in her last 26.2-mile race, finishing ninth in London on April 24. She also finished fourth at the London Games.

Instead, the roster includes Jepkesho, whose only major marathon was a 20th-place finish at the 2015 World Championships. Jepkesho, 28, won the Paris Marathon in 2:25:53 on April 3.

Kiprop won the World Championships silver medal last year and the Tokyo Marathon in 2:21:27 on Feb. 28, a personal-best time.

Keitany and Chicago Marathon winner Florence Kiplagat were on a reported preliminary roster last week but were relegated to reserves in Tuesday’s announcement.

For the second straight Olympics, all of Kenya’s runners will be making their Olympic marathon debut. Kipchoge earned 5000m bronze in 2004 and silver in 2008.

In 2012, Kenya’s Olympic team did not include Patrick Makau, then the world-record holder, or Geoffrey Mutai, who then had the fastest 26.2-mile time ever (but on a course that wasn’t record eligible).

MORE: Boston Marathon winners not assured Olympic spots