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Paris champ Saina eyes to add New York
marathon title to her great collections

By John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Paris marathon champion Betsy Saina says she intends to add another golden feather to her illustrious cup by conquering the New York marathon course.

However, for Saina to excel, she must work extra hard to deny not only Kenyan rivals but last year’s winner Shalane Flanagan and the Boston Marathon champion Des Linden of the United States.

“Even though winning Paris marathon was months ago, it’s still fresh in my memory and that’s what pushes me, working hard every day.  I need more,” she said Monday in Eldoret.

Saina, 30, will be running her fourth marathon. Her first two in New York and Tokyo saw her fail to finish the race, but she returned stronger to claim her maiden win in Paris in April, which lifted the pressure off her back.

“I am excited to train hard again for the next marathon. This time I got half of the work taken care off because I am well prepared in mind. I know what it takes to be the best,” said Saina. “The Paris Marathon became my game changer.”

After her win in Paris, Saina finished third at the Great Manchester 10km run, in an event that was won by Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba with Kenya’s Joyciline Jepkosgei settling for silver. She also competed at New York Mini 10km finishing fourth and was seventh at the Boston 10km road race.

“I have finished my longrun and I feel healthy and great,” she added.

However, Kenyan Mary Keitany will be keen to reclaim her title while Vivian Cheruiyot is eyeing her first win in US soil after conquering London course.

Keitany holds the women’s only marathon world record of 2:17:01 from her victory at the 2017 London Marathon. Britain’s Paula Radcliffe’s world record of 2:15:25 is the only time faster than Keitany’s. Keitany attempts to break it in London in April was futile as she finished fourth with Cheruiyot winning.

Last year, Keitany was second in New York behind Shalane Flanagan.

But with Cheruiyot running 2:18:31 in London, she promises to blossom further in her fourth race. But there will also be an Ethiopian contingent, which includes 2018 World Half Marathon champion Netsanet Gudeta and last year’s New York City Marathon third place finisher Mamitu Daska. No Ethiopian woman has won the New York City Marathon since Derartu Tulu in 2009.

Former Kenyan Olympic silver medalist Sally Kipyego will also be back to competition after returning from maternity leave.



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