Marathon runners Kelvin Kiptum, Brigid Kosgei, Sheila Chepkirui and Geoffrey Kamworor have backed out of their commitment to compete for Kenya at the 2023 Budapest World Athletics Championships.

The three decided that they would prefer to compete where there are large prize purses in the autumn, perhaps Berlin in September, Chicago in October or New York in November.

“It is their choice and there is little we can do about it,” said Athletics Kenya director of competitions Paul Mutwii. “It is their right to make whatever choice that they want even without giving us an answer.”

Twenty-three-year-old Kiptum has run the second-fastest marathon all-time behind only compatriot Eliud Kipchoge (2:01:09). Kiptum won the 2023 London Marathon in the time of 2:01:25. Olympic silver medallist Kosgei won the 2019 Chicago Marathon in the time of 2:14:04, which is the current world record. Kamworor is the three-time world half marathon champion.

Meanwhile, Kenya’s marathon running is deep and the three deciding to run in professional marathons for the large paydays, make room for other quality athletes to step forward.

Who is currently going to Budapest?

Sally Chepyego Kaptich who finished second at the Barcelona Marathon and was a reserve is now on the main team. Shyline Jepkorir who finished second at the Enschede Marathon is in. Rosemary Wanjiru who won the 2023 Tokyo Marathon joins Chepkirui and Kaptich to make up the women’s team. Commonwealth Games Margaret Wangari and Betty Chepkwony are now reserves. Wanjiru is the fastest of the group with a 2:16:28 from Tokyo in March. The rest have not yet cracked the 2:20 barrier.

Titus Kipruto, Timothy Kiplagat, and Joshua Belet make up the men’s team, while Michael Githae and Bethwel Kibet are reserves. Kiplagat is the fastest in the men’s team with his 2:03:50 performance from the April 2023 running of the Rotterdam Marathon.