Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Kipsang: Pace setters let me down

London marathon winners Kenyan's Edna Kiplagat (L) and Wilson Kipsang (R) pose for photographers in front of Tower Bridge in London on April 14, 2014. Wilson Kipsang said on Tuesday he would have broken his own World record if he had better pace setters at the London Marathon on Sunday. PHOTO/AFP

London marathon winners Kenyan's Edna Kiplagat (L) and Wilson Kipsang (R) pose for photographers in front of Tower Bridge in London on April 14, 2014. Wilson Kipsang said on Tuesday he would have broken his own World record if he had better pace setters at the London Marathon on Sunday. PHOTO/AFP 

By AYUMBA AYODI
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Wilson Kipsang said on Tuesday he would have broken his own World record if he had better pace setters at the London Marathon on Sunday.

Kipsang said he decided to hit the front after the three pace setters that included legendary Haile Gebrsellasie failed to keep up with the high pace, falling back with just 15km into the race.

Kipsang, who holds a World Record of 2:03:23, conjured a Course Record with new times of 2:04:29 hence shaving off Emmanuel Mutai’s previous  record of 2:04:40 (2011 London)  by 11 seconds.

“I was eyeing a course record with the possibility of improving my own World record but the pace setting wasn’t good,” said Kipsang, who also won the race in 2012 in 2:04:44.

The 32-year-old from Elgeyo Marakwet had seven months ago claimed the World record with victory in a time of 2:03:23 at Berlin Marathon.

SURPRISE CHARGE

Kipsang had to shrug off a surprise charge from 2012 Paris Marathon champion Stanley Biwott in the last mile of the race to cross the line 26 seconds clear in 2:04:29, while Edna Kiplagat won a duel in the sun against her namesake Florence Kiplagat to win by three seconds in 2:20:21.

“The weather was good for a World record - warm and conducive - unlike the previous race,” Kipsang’ said.

“The pace setters dropped too early with only one remaining after the first 15km.”

Kipsang was speaking at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport upon arrival from London. He was accompanied by Florence.

Edna opted to stay in London while Priscah Jeptoo, who failed to defend her title, had to seek medical attention in Europe after sustaining an injury in the race.

Gebrsellasie, Richard Sigei and Edwin Kiptoo led the pace through 5km and 10kms before Sigei was left alone after the 15km mark with Kipsang taking over at 20km. Sigei briefing came to the front at the half-way point before he faded away.

“The pace setters were too weak for our high pace as they let me control the race with 12 km to go,” Kipsang said. “I had to take the risk as I went down to run my race, easy and comfortable.”

Kipsang said that he was so surprised by Biwott’s charge. Kipsang kicked away from a pack of eight after 30km and it’s only Biwott who responded to keep toe.

The two ran shoulder-to-shoulder for 10km, past before Kipsang made his move with just over 2km left.

From there Kipsang was never in trouble. “I didn’t expect him but other guys like Geoffrey Mutai and Emmanuel Mutai,” said Kisang. “Biwott looked strong and in good shape hence the race became more mental and tactical.”

Kipsang said he will take a rest before contesting in the Bupa Great Manchester Run on May 18, this year. “I will from there decide my next stop in marathon,” said Kipsang.

Two time Berlin Marathon winner and World Half Marathon record holder Florence Kiplagat, said she lost to a more experienced Edna Kiplagat adding that her time will soon come.

BREAKING WORLD RECORD

“I was in London to test if I have matured in marathon despite victories in Berlin but that experience is gradually coming,” said Kiplagat. “Marathon is different; I didn’t read my mileage well hence that is what made the difference.”

Kiplagat broke the World Half Marathon record by a significant margin at the Barcelona Half Marathon on February 16, stopping the clock in 1:05:12 in a gun-to-tape performance, beating the previous record by fellow countrywoman Mary Keitany by 38 seconds. “I want to see if I will improve that record before the need of this year.”

Also jetting back from London was First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta, 50, who became the first holder of her office to complete the classic distance in 7:04:29. She was in the company of her spouse and Head of State, Uhuru Kenyatta.

She was competing to raise funds for her Beyond Zero charity that aims at equipping all 47 counties in the country with mobile clinics to encourage women and children to access healthcare.