James Magayi @magayijim
Decorated Kenyan road-runner Mary Keitany has embarked on last year’s failed mission of breaking Paula Radcliffe’s 2:15:25 marathon record and will stage her attack during April’s London Marathon.
During last year’s attempt on the same course, Keitany broke the women’s-only (where female pacemakers are used) marathon record, slashing 41 seconds off Radcliffe’s erstwhile all-time best to set a new one at 2:17:01.
The 36-year-old has recovered and trained enough for the historic challenge and will have incredible competition from other stardust names in road racing to spice up the race.
Just as Radcliffe did when she set the world record at the 2003 London Marathon, Keitany will be running with male pacemakers in her bid to run inside the Briton’s iconic mark of 2:15:25.
During her win last year, Keitany went through the halfway point more than a minute faster than Radcliffe did on the way to her record in 2003.
However, her pacemaker fell away soon after and Keitany found herself alone and falling off that searing pace.
Keitany, the three-time London Marathon champion, said: “The marathon world record is something 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.”
“At last year’s London Marathon, I was feeling good but it was hard to run nearly half the race on my own.
By having male pacemakers, I will be able to have the support throughout the race,” she added.
“Obviously, any world record is contingent on everything being right on the day.
London has shown it has the course for world records to be broken and I hope my form and health stay strong and that the weather is kind on the day.”
“I know the record was set by Paula Radcliffe on this course in 2003 and that she is a very popular person in Great Britain but I really hope the London crowds get behind my challenge and can help drive me on to achieve something incredible.”
Hugh Brasher, Event Director of the London Marathon, said: “No one has got near Paula’s mark for 15 years and for Mary to commit to attacking it shows her courage and the belief in her athletic ability.”
As well as a battle against the clock, Keitany will also be in a duel with her great Ethiopian rival Tirunesh Dibaba and 2017 marathon world champion Rose Chelimo will also be part of the elite women’s field.
The Abbott World Marathon Majors (AbbottWMM) Series XI concludes in London.