Kiplagat wins third successive marathon title but fails to beat record

Tuesday February 16 2016

Florence Kiplagat crosses the finishes tape to win gold during the World Cross Country championships women's 8km race in Amman, Jordan on February 26, 2012. Kiplagat claimed her third consecutive victory at the Barcelona Half Marathon on Sunday but fell four minutes shy of her own world half marathon record she set the same city last year. PHOTO | MOHAMMED AMIN |

Florence Kiplagat crosses the finishes tape to win gold during the World Cross Country championships women's 8km race in Amman, Jordan on February 26, 2012. Kiplagat claimed her third consecutive victory at the Barcelona Half Marathon on Sunday but fell four minutes shy of her own world half marathon record she set the same city last year. PHOTO | MOHAMMED AMIN | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By AYUMBA AYODI
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As promised Kenya’s Florence Kiplagat never went for her own World Half Marathon record but claimed her third consecutive victory at the Barcelona Half Marathon over the weekend.

Kiplagat, 28, once again took a commanding win in a time of 1:09:19, more than four minutes outside the half marathon world record of 1:05:09 she set in the same city last year.

Kiplagat’s victory came just after the 2011 World marathon silver medallist Vincent Kipruto, won the men’s race in 1:02:54 to complete a Kenyan double in the half marathon.

Kiplagat, the reigning Chicago Marathon champion, broke the half marathon world record by a significant margin at the Barcelona Half Marathon in February 2014, running 1:05:12 to erase Mary Keitany's previous record mark by 38 seconds.

She also took the world record for the 20 km distance as well with a time of 1:01:56.

“I want the record to stay for sometime since I have confidence that no one will break it for now,” said Kiplagat before heading to Barcelona.

RIO FOCUS

Kiplagat now turns her focus to the London Marathon slated for April 24 where she hopes to perform well and catch the eyes of the national selectors for the Olympic Games due August in Rio, Brazil.

Her usual pacemaker Marc Roig set a steady pace from the gun which made it quite clear that her world record was never seriously going to be challenged.

Kiplagat ran through the opening 5km in 16:31, nearly a full minute outside the impressive 15:38 she clocked last year.

The pair speeded up and reached the 10km point in 32:42 – a 16:09 split – and 15km in 49:06 but were still almost three minutes slower than last year when Kiplagat also clocked a world record for the distance with a time of 46:13.

However, despite small adjustments being made to the course in the hope that it was going to be faster, a combination of the relatively poor weather conditions and her interrupted training in recent months, lead to her relatively modest time.

Kiplagat, the 2011 and 2013 Berlin Marathon champion, edged out Sweden’s Isabellah Andersson and Portugal’s Jessica Augusto to second and third places who clocked 1:10:50 and 1:10:58 respectively.

MEN'S RACE

The leading group of eight in the men’s race, Kipruto, Samuel Kibiwot and Josephat Menjo as well as Ethiopia’s Abdi Fufa and Italy’s 2014 European marathon champion Daniele Meucci race passed the 5km and 10km marks in 14:32 and 29:10.

After Menjo had dropped away, the quartet of Kipruto, Kibiwot, Fufa and Meucci reached 20km with the clock reading 59:52.

The tactical affair was finally decided when the 28-year-old Kipruto, the winner of the Xiamen Marathon last month, outsprinted Meucci over the last 200 metres to claim victory in 1:02:54 with the Italian one second behind and the unheralded Fufa completing the podium in third place with 1:02:57.