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Kenyan runners face off in New York marathon

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s Mary Keitany and Vivian Cheruiyot are the best of friends, but that will be forgotten when they line up at the New York marathon on Nov. 4.

The two first met up close and candid in London in April with Cheruiyot holding the underdog card.

However, Keitany, who had a mission to try and run under two hours and 15 minutes to break the world record, faded off to fourth as Cheruiyot clinched her first major city title as she launches her career in the 42km distance.

Now the two come face to face yet again for bragging rights in America’s biggest marathon race and Cheruiyot has confirmed there will be no love lost.

“Indeed we are friends and we do several things together. But this is competition and I am still learning and will run my own race and see where I end up. Winning London raised my profile, but there are still several hurdles in bid to carve my own niche,” said the Olympic 5,000m champion.

Keitany and Cheruiyot, will join previously announced Shalane Flanagan, the 2017 winner, and 2018 Boston Marathon champion Des Linden of the U.S, in a race that features 10 Olympians and three World Marathon Majors race champions.

Keitany, 36, is the women’s only marathon record-holder who finished runner-up in this race last year after notching three successive titles.

In 2016, the Kenyan had a dominating performance in which she surged ahead at after 21km to finish the course on a solo run in 2:24:26.

Her 3:34 margin of victory was the greatest in the women’s race since 1980, and she became the first able-bodied runner since Grete Waitz to win the event three years in a row.

“I was disappointed not to defend my title last year, but I was not 100 percent healthy and Shalane ran a strong race,” said Keitany, the 2012 and 2016 World Marathon Majors champion.

Hopefully, the 36-year-old will be fit and healthy to take the battle to her rivals and redeem herself after poor show in London.

In April 2017, Keitany won her third London Marathon title, breaking the women’s only marathon record in a blistering time of 2:17:01.

However, the challenge to beat Paula Radcliffe male paced world marathon record time of 2:15:25 set in 2003 remains her main goal despite missing it in London this year.

Joining Keitany from the international side will be two Ethiopians, reigning IAAF World Half Marathon champion Netsanet Gudeta and Mamitu Daska, who finished third in New York last year.

Molly Huddle, who was third in New York in 2016, 2018 Boston Marathon runner-up Sarah Sellers, 2016 New York runner-up Sally Kipyego, and 2017 fifth-place finisher Allie Kieffer are also in the line-up.



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