BLIND runner and crowd favourite Henry Wanyoike will be back for the Standard Chartered Jersey Marathon – but it is his childhood friend and training guide Joseph Kibunja who could be the wild card contestant for the title.
Having just competed for Kenya at this year’s Paralympics in Beijing, Wanyoike will be taking the 26.2 mile run a little easier than usual on Sunday. being guided this time by Island volunteers who have bid to run a leg with the former world record holder.
That leaves the course clear for a full-on run from Kibunja, who will be competing in the Jersey Marathon on his own for the first time. And organising committee member Rob Douglas, who will also be running in the marathon, says the Kenyan could be the one to watch. Kibunja will have a tough battle on his hands, however, if he is to compete with UK runner and Jersey marathon newcomer Colin Deasy.
The women’s event looks set to be a three-way fight between returning champion Michelle Buckle, Alderney’s Nikki Neal and Jersey long distance runner Jo Gorrod. UK runner Buckle has retained the title for two years, winning gold in 2006 in 3 hr 3 min 48 sec, and again in 2007, in 3 hr 4 min 11 sec, although Neal is the current CI marathon champion and holds the CI ladies’ record, which is 2 hr 54 min 19 sec.
• Picture: Blind runner Henry Wanyoike (right) with guide and friend Joseph Kibunja