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Johana Kariankei to chase Blue Nose half-marathon record

The Kenyan runner will pursue his training partner's course record at this weekend's marathon in Halifax.
Johana Kariankei of Kenya finishes the 10-K race at the 2015 Canada Day run in Ottawa. (WILLIAM MCEVOY / IN MY SIGHTS PHOTOGRAPHY / Run Ottawa)

Thanks to a high-profile visitor, there will be a race within the race at Sunday's Blue Nose Marathon.

Kenya's Johana Kariankei, who won the Blue Nose 5-K race two years ago in 14 minutes and 31 seconds, will be back in Halifax with another challenge in mind.

Sponsored to Halifax by local businessman and runner Ethan Michaels, the 25-year-old Kariankei can run a half-marathon in one hour and four minutes.

He was at the Blue Nose Marathon two years ago when his training partner, two-time marathon world champion and 2012 Olympic silver medallist Abel Kirui, ran the half-marathon in a course record 1:04:03.

"He's won some big races for a young guy," said Michaels, who has a fondness for Kenya's rich running tradition and has sponsored several runners for the Blue Nose since 2014. "He thinks he's coming into top form and he's going after the champ's half-marathon record."

Kariankei is the only Kenyan making the trip this time, although Michaels said Kirui, who won the 2016 Chicago Marathon, wants to come back some day

"The worlds are in London in August and a lot of athletes are taking a look at that," said Michaels. "So we're giving the spotlight to Johana. He deserves that. He came here and ran a great race and he's been training hard in Kenya with Kirui and the gang. So this is his shot."

Kenya's Philip Biwott and Sarah Jebet set the Blue Nose records for the full marathon in 2014.


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