Marthe Yankurije is oozing with confidence as she looks to strike gold at this year’s Kigali International Peace Marathon come June 16.
The middle and long distance runner, who will compete in the women’s half-marathon, has also said that she will be seeking to beat her personal best.
The APR Athletics Club star has a personal best of 1:36:10, which she registered last year during the 14th edition of the annual race when she struck bronze.
“I want to set a new personal best – and win gold – in Kigali Peace Marathon this year. I am working very hard in training, and the progress i have made so far is promising,” she told this publication on Wednesday.
The two-time Bugesera 20km winner, who finished in 16th position at the Germany 5km race last December, is not satisfied with her current personal best.
When asked about rivals she will be watching out for, Yankurije singled out her compatriot Clementine Mukandanga, but insisted that the major opposition will come from Kenya and Uganda.
“Clementine (Mukandanga) will be my main challenger on local scene, but the main opposition will surely come with Kenyan and Ugandan athletes. I will have to be at the topmost of my form to claim the gold medal,” she noted.
Yankurije will be looking to take over from former APR teammate Salome Nyirarukundo, gold medalist during the 2017 and 2018 editions, who has since moved to Canada.
Derartu expected in Kigali
In the meantime, Ethiopian legend Derartu Tulu has confirmed that she will be in Kigali for the international Peace Marathon this year, Times Sport understands.
Derartu, 47, is a retired Ethiopian Olympic medalist who competed in track, cross country, and road running up to the marathon distance.
She became the first Ethiopian, and the first black African woman, to win an Olympic gold medal, which she did in the 10,000m event at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.
According to Rwanda Athletics Federation (RAF), global athletics icons Usain Bolt and Mo Farah are yet to confirm their availability.
By press time Wednesday, over one thousand foreign participants had registered to take part in the multi-category event.