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Kenya’s Kiplagat eyes Berlin marathon win,
only podium missing in majors collection

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Two-time world marathon champion Edna Kiplagat of Kenya says she is keen to run fast time and improve on her best time in her debut at the Berlin marathon on Sunday.

However, the 38-year-old Kenyan is not contemplating hanging up her spikes even as she is pushed to the edge by the younger rivals including race defending champion Gladys Cherono and Chicago marathon champion Tirunesh Dibaba.

“After a few days of recovery from the tough race I had in Boston, I feel better and ready to begin my easy and steady charge to glory. Berlin is my next stop. It is a fast course and hopefully, I will improve my best time. I must thank you all for great support,” said Kiplagat on Tuesday in Iten.

Kiplagat began her World Marathon Majors (WMM) odyssey with victory in 2010 at the New York marathon.

She has since been to Tokyo, Chicago, Boston and London marathon where she set her best time of 2:19:50.

If Kiplagat finishes in Berlin, she will become the first-ever elite able-bodied woman to finish all six WMM. If she finishes in top three positions, she will also be the only woman to get to podium at all six of the world majors.

“I have no injury concerns. It has been a great pleasure for me in marathon career. My story has been a success and it will be great pleasure to run in Berlin against some of the international elite runners,” she said.

She was second again in the English capital in 2013 and then added a second straight world title with gold in Moscow that same year. Her first win in London came in third in 2014.

She went to Tokyo and claimed silver and later in 2016 she was second at the Chicago marathon. Last year, she won in Boston to be crowned the WMM champion.

Now the only piece missing in her jigsaw is a medal from Berlin to clear all the six WMM races.

“I have done five major races in WMM. I started in New York in 2010 and it was victory for me. It is my dream to run the six majors and the only race I have not gone to is in Berlin and hopefully, I will do it and win before I retire,” said Kiplagat.

If conditions are favorable in Berlin, Dibaba has said she will attack the world record, set by Britain’s Paula Radcliffe in 2002 with 2:15:25 in London. But she must also be wary of the challenge Kiplagat and Cherono pose to her quest.

“I want to retain my title and I have done well in training. There are no injury concerns and I look forward to a good race in Berlin,” said Cherono. Berlin marks the start of Series 12 of WMM which will finish a year from now.

In the men race, Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge returns to defend his title against the former world record holder Wilson Kipsang. Focus will be on the two trying to break compatriot Dennis Kimetto’s 2:02.27 world record time set in 2014.

Kipchoge will be attacking his personal best of 2:03:05 which is just eight seconds slower.

Others in the field are Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese, Kenyans Eliud Kiptanui and Amos Kipruto, Ethiopian Abera Kuma and Japan’s Arata Fujiwara.



Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei to make full marathon debut, eyes Chinese races

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- World half marathon record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei says she will be ready for a full marathon debut, probably in December.

Jepkosgei, who has had injury trouble since her world half-marathon record of 64:51 in Valencia last October, believes she still has more to do to return to her top performance and believes venturing into full marathon is her next target.

“My coach is preparing me for a marathon. He told me that I will go for training and then he will see how my body is. It might be end of this year or next year,” said the 25-year-old on Tuesday.

“China marathons are good, though I have no particular race I have lined up now. But I know it will be good to test myself there.”

Shanghai Marathon in November might be too soon for the Kenyan star. However, there is a possibility of her running at the Xiamen Marathon in January if her management gets an invite from the organizers.

Jepkosgei was third in 68:10 at last week’s Great North Run in Newcastle, England, her third race this year. Injury concerns have limited the Kenyan participation in international competition, but she believes she is getting better.

In May, Jepkosgei was second at the Manchester 10km run behind Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba.

Meanwhile, London Marathon silver medalist Brigit Kosgei is intensifying her training ahead of her race in Chicago in October.

However, the Kenyan has injury concerns after she pulled a hamstring problem in Newcastle in the last stages of the 21km Great North Run.

“I will watch over the injury before gauging myself for the Chicago Marathon. I struggled with pain in my knees and hamstrings, which forced me to ease in the last stages. But I am happy I did well in Newcastle and hope it will help me in my plans for Chicago.”



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