Kenyan Alex Korio is focused on winning the Yangzhou International Half Marathon in China

Alex Korio may be one of the fastest entrant in Yangzhou Jianzhen International Half Marathon on Sunday, but the Kenyan feels victory will be more important than clocking a fast time.

The Kenyan has endured poor performance in the last three races failing to finish at Chicago Marathon and was 14th in Ras Al Khaimah in United Arab Emirates despite posting a fast time.

"I want to win, not fast time. I clocked 61:11 in Ras Al Khaimah but I finished 14. That time is fast, but what is important is to win the race," he said on Thursday in Nairobi.

Korio, 28, will team up with compatriot Shadrack Kimining, the third-place finisher last year, as the top contenders.

The 23-year-old Kenyan will not only enjoy the advantage of being familiar with the point-to-point course as it was his third straight year in Yangzhou, but also compete with great confidence after improving his personal best time to 59:42 two months ago.

"We train together and we are going to race in same city. But it will be an individual effort when we line up for the race. I also want to win as much as Korio wants to win," said Kimining.

With the absence of four-time defending champion Mosinet Geremew of Ethiopia, who set the course record of 59:52 in 2015, Bahrain's Abraham Cheroben, runner-up last year, is the strongest runner.

The 26-year-old will target nothing but the top place of the podium in his third consecutive appearance in Yangzhou.

Cheroben finished third in Yangzhou two years ago and set an Asian record of 58:40 in Copenhagen seven months later.

Last year he gained a second-place finish in Yangzhou and took the silver medal at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Valencia.

The field also include Kenyan Wilfred Kimitei, who clocked 59:40 in last year's race as well as Berehanu Tsegu of Ethiopia.

posted Friday April 19th