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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Keitany signals intent for marathon
world record chase in Ras Al Khaimah

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s Mary Keitany signaled that she is in fine form ahead of her world record bid at the London Marathon with a searing time in the Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Half Marathon on Feb 9.

The 34-year-old Kenyan, who set a new women’s world record at the 2017 London showpiece last year, came second in RAK with a time of 64:55 minutes, missing out by two seconds to fellow countrywoman Fancy Chemutai, who set a new course record and narrowly missed out on a new world record for 21km distance.

“The marathon world record is something that I have been working towards for several years and I feel I am now in the position where I can really attack the time of 2:15:25 set by Paula Radcliffe,” said Keitany.

“At last year’s London Marathon, I was feeling good but it was hard to run nearly half the race on my own,” she added.

Keitany sits tied at the top of the women’s standings with Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba in the World Marathon Majors (WMM) quest, and the pair will face each other in London on April 22.

Mercy Kosgei, Gladys Cherono and 2017 world champion Rose Chelimo (all from Kenya) also feature in a loaded field in London looking to gatecrash the party.

With Tokyo and Boston to come before then, however, there is potential for the WMM leaderboard to be shaken up before the Series reaches the English capital.

Ethiopia’s Ruti Aga, currently on 16 points, has a chance to pull level at the top if she can win in Japan, while Shalane Flanagan (USA) and Edna Kiplagat of Kenya both line up in Boston knowing victory can put them ahead of the pack.

A second win for the American, following her stunning victory over Keitany in the New York City Marathon, can catapult her to 50 points, while a repeat of her 2017 success on Boston street will see Kiplagat take a four-point advantage.

           

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