As the 2012 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships begin in Bulgaria, many bystanders are looking at the Kenyan women's team and wondering if they can be beat. The Kenyans, who have won four of the last five team titles, seem to be a favorite to win again. And with the five fastest entrants in the field, it seems to be a safe bet that the Kenyans will come away with an individual title, as well.
The World Half Marathon Championships will take place on Oct. 6 in Kavarna, Bulgaria. In order to win the team title, the Kenyans will have to come away from the race with the lowest-combined time among their top three runners.
Here's a little bit about the five women who are expected to compete for Kenya:
Lydia Cheromei: At 35, Cheromei is the oldest and most experienced of all the Kenyan women expected to participate on Oct. 6. She won the silver medal at the 2004 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships, and she's gotten faster with experience. In fact, she ran her personal best time of 1:07.26 earlier this year.
Peninah Arusei: Arusei , 33, was part of the gold-medal winning team at the 2010 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships. Individually, she won bronze that year. Arusei arrives at the 2012 event with a personal best time of 1:07.48.
Pauline Njeri Kaheyna: The 27-year-old Kenyan runner comes into the 2012 World Half Marathon Championships with a personal best time of 1:07.55, which she ran in Paris earlier this year, according to the International Associated of Athletic Federations.
Pasalla Chepkorir Kipkoech: The 23-year-old Kenyan runner has posted the fourth-fastest time in the world this year, and she'll be looking to take the gold at the championship on Oct. 6. She comes into the race with a personal record of 1:08.20.
Priscah Jepleting Cherono: Jepleting, 32, has twice finished seventh at the World Half Marathon Championships, but this year, she will be looking for a medal. She's twice earned world championship medals before: In 2006, she won silver in the short race at the World Cross Country Championships, and in 2007 she won bronze in the 5,000-meters at the Track World Championships. The 32-year-old comes into the race with a personal best time of 1:08.35.
Read more from this author: About the Five American Women Expected to Compete in the 2012 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships
Sandra Johnson caught the running bug when she completed her first half marathon in 2009, and she hasn't lost the bug yet. In addition, Johnson is a longtime fan of Olympic sports. While working for the United States Olympic Committee and living in the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., Johnson had the opportunity to immerse herself in the Olympic Movement. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraJohnson46
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