Women-Only world record not likely for London Marathon, says Kosgei

Although Brigid Kosgei’s marathon personal best of 2:14:04 is nearly three minutes faster than the all-women’s world record of 2:17:01, the 27 year-old Kenyan athlete doesn’t see that as a goal for Sunday’s Virgin Money London Marathon, despite rich financial incentives offered by race organizers.

Kosgei, who has won the last two editions of the London Marathon, said that the 57-day turnaround from her Olympic silver medal performance in Tokyo was simply too short to be in world record shape.

“No, I don’t have any course record (plans),” she told reporters on a video conference this morning. “You know I come from Olympics not far, just one month and something. No preparation is good (enough) to prepare for women-only record.”

Under World Athletics rules, separate world records are kept in women’s road racing depending on whether men join them on the field of play.

The 2:17:01 women-only record was set by another Kenyan, the recently-retired Mary Keitany, at the London Marathon in 2017. Kosgei ran her 2:14:04 mixed-gender record in Chicago in 2019.

Surpassing Keitany’s record in London would provide Kosgei with a financial windfall.

She said she is instead focused on just competing well and trying to win, whatever the time having taken a short break from training after her Olympic race on August 7, where in hot and humid conditions compatriot Peres Jepchirchir won the gold medal.

“After Olympics I went maybe two days break, then I continue doing practice,” said Kosgei. “My training is well going on. I prepare very well. I am ready on Sunday.”

Kosgei said that the return to London’s traditional city course from Black Heath to the Mall would give her a boost. Last year’s race was held on a special 20-lap closed circuit in St. James’s Park in a COVID-safe “bubble.”

“I don’t like the loops like last year,” Kosgei said. “I was running around and around. My head was turning, turning, turning.”

“It was a pleasure for me to be invited to London,” said Jepkosgei choosing her words carefully. “I was happy and I appreciate.” She added: “The course of New York is so different.”

The other top women are Israel’s Lonah Chemtai Salpeter (2:17:45 personal best); Ethiopia’s Roza Dereje (2:18:30), Birhane Dibaba (2:18:35), Degitu Azimeraw (2:19:26), Zeineba Yimer (2:19:28), and Tigist Girma (2:19:52); and Kenya’s Valary Jemeli Aiyabei (2:19:10).

In all, 20 women have been recruited for the all-women’s elite race.


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