Lonah Chemtai Salpeter will return to action on Sunday, Feb. 28 when she contests the Tuscany Camp Half Marathon in Sovicille, about 10km southwest of the Italian city of Siena.
The race will be over a four-lap circuit of the Siena Airport to maximise the safety of the runners, which has been restricted to approximately 90 participants. The 32-year-old Israeli runner, who was the second-fastest woman in the world in 2020
over the marathon, is using this race as an important part of her preparation ahead of bidding for a marathon medal at this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo. Salpeter arrives in Italy Friday, Feb. 26 after a seven-week training stint in Kenya.
“I was in great shape 12 months ago, shown by the fact that I ran a national record of 2:17:45 when I won the Tokyo Marathon last March. However, like so many runners around the world, my plans and preparations were disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. Even though I carried on training, the most important thing for myself and my family was to stay safe and healthy,” reflected Chemtai Salpeter.
“With the Olympics back in sight again. I am very motivated. I don’t want to talk about times here at this race because everything is geared towards doing well in Tokyo and breaking my national record of 66:09 (set in the 2019 Prague Half Marathon) may have to wait for another day but looking at this course, I can see it is very fast,” she added.
No Israeli athlete, man or woman, has ever won an Olympic medal and Chemtai Salpeter will be bidding to become the first when she returns to the Japanese capital. Having my place in athletics history is very important but I also want to make up for my disappointment at having to drop out of the marathon at the last Olympics, as well as two disappointing outings at the last two World Athletics Championships.
“People know I can run fast, and I am also very proud of being the reigning European 10,000m champion, but I want to show what I can do on a global stage.”
“I have had three other races at home in Israel, but the Tuscany Camp Half Marathon will be my first serious competition since the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships last October. I was aiming for the RAK Half Marathon earlier this month until it was cancelled so I expect to give a good account of myself here, and I am thrilled to be able to race here at short notice,” commented Chemtai Salpeter.