Low-key return for heroic Florence Kiplagat

Wednesday October 12 2016

Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha welcomes two-time Chicago Marathon champion Florence Kiplagat at Eldoret International Airport October 12, 2016. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA |

Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha welcomes two-time Chicago Marathon champion Florence Kiplagat at Eldoret International Airport October 12, 2016. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By BENARD ROTICH
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Two-time Chicago Marathon champion Florence Kiplagat jetted in on Wednesday after defending her title on Sunday.

Unlike other athletes who are usually welcomed with traditional milk mursik, which signifies the return of a hero from battle, Kiplagat was picked up only by her cousin and left for home quietly.

Daily Nation Sport caught up with her at the airport. Kiplagat said that although the race was tough, she was happy with the win.

“After winning the race in Chicago, it became clear to me that I can still do better. We ran as a team and the pace was very fast when we started,” said Kiplagat.

The athlete said she had trained well and her win didn’t surprise her because she knew the course well.

“Valentine Kipketer and one of the best marathoners, Edna, made me ran even faster. I could not give them a chance,” said Kiplagat, who trains in Iten.

She said after the 30km mark, the race became slower and she decided to increase her speed because a slow race would work against her.

“I knew I would be the loser if I slowed, therefore, and I decided to increase my speed so that should anything go wrong, they would find me near the finishing line. That’s why I ran for 12km alone,” said Kiplagat.

She says after her win she will be taking a rest as she looks forward to be invited in either Boston Marathon or London Marathon next season.

Accompanying Kiplagat was Gideon Kipketer and Valentine Kipketer who are brother and sister and interestingly they both finished in third position and the Olympics gold medallist in 800m David Rudisha.

Gideon who is the eldest said that they prepared very well and had asked her sister to work hard in the race to at least get a place in the podium.

“We had trained well with my sister and had asked her to work hard to get a place in the podium which she did and I’m really proud of her,” said Kipketer.

Valentine on her side said that she knew she was competing with the best and fear was the last thing in her mind.

“I knew I was running with the best athletes in the world and I didn’t fear because I had also trained well for the race. I was very happy for finishing third and I also congratulate my brother who motivated me,” said the athlete who trains in Kapkitony, Elgeyo Marakwet.

This year’s Boston Half Marathon winner Daniel Salel was also among the athletes who arrived Wednesday.