Injury forces Mary Keitany to shelve her plans for 2020 season
Kenya’s Mary Keitany poses during a photocall for the London Women’s Marathon elite athletes outside Tower Bridge, in central London on April 18, 2018, ahead of the upcoming London marathon. [AFP PHOTO / Tolga AKMEN]

New York marathon silver medalist Mary Keitany is actively battling two wars: to be fit from injury and staying safe from the Covid-19 disease.

At 38, Keitany is not about to throw in the towel despite failing to clinch any wins in the 2019 season. 

The four-time New York marathon champion still believes she has the strength to challenge at the biggest stage when she is free of injury.

However, until then, she will be content to stay home safe and healthy as the world combats the Covid-19 pandemic, which has decimated the sports calendar. 

“I am still nursing a hip injury, which I picked up early in 2019 in London. I had run it off in my preparations for the New York marathon, but it seems it had not cleared completely. I have been advised by doctors to rest,” Keitany said on Thursday from Iten. 

To help kill time, the diminutive athlete tends to her animal and farm with the help of her husband Charles.

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But Keitany is hopeful that athletes will emerge from the lockdown stronger, fresh and expectant of better performances. 

“This pandemic will end someday and we will be allowed to return to do sports as has been the tradition. Many runners have had to endure seeing their hard training go to waste because their races have been postponed or cancelled,” Keitany said. 

“It is frustrating because they depend on these races to earn a living and now that has been denied to them. This is especially bad to those athletes returning from injury or first timers trying to break the ceiling. It is tough,” she added.

Indeed, the former London marathon champion was planning to compete in Boston in April before the injury aggravated. She had to pull out, but with the race pushed back to September, she may be lucky to return to fitness and honor the call to race in the streets of Boston. 

“I usually take three to four months to train and prepare for a race. I had to cancel going to Boston in February because I felt I could not make it. My injury was bad and I had to pull out. This pandemic has helped me because I’m on sabbatical from running to help my body recover, hopefully I will be stronger when I return,” Keitany said.

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