It’s not easy being an Athletics Kenya selector. Especially if picking the marathon team for the World Championships or Olympic Games is one of your deliverables.
Well, Edna Kiplagat has turned the selectors’ headache into a migraine with her latest triumph at the Boston Marathon as she now wants a place in Kenya’s team to the IAAF World Championships.
It would be difficult to turn down an athlete who has won two World Championships gold medals a few big city races and is eager to complete a hat-trick of victories at the World Championships when London hosts this year’s edition in August.
She stopped by the Nation Centre on Thursday in the company of her husband-cum-coach Gilbert Koech and children Wendy and Carlos, fresh from her triumph in Monday’s Boston race, and made it clear that she in shape for a third world title.
During the 2012 Olympic Games on the very streets of London, Kiplagat, now 37, struggled to come to terms with the cold and rainy conditions which never favour her, just as much as they don’t favour 800 metres world record holder David Rudisha.
She was lucky that the conditions in Boston on Monday were gleefully warm.
“When I attacked the first hill after 30km, I felt strong and on the second hill, I looked back and saw no one had reacted and that’s when I knew the victory was mine,” she said. “I’m happy that this time I travelled with my children Wendy and Carlos and I wanted to win and greet them at the finish line.”
Sadly, her husband Koech bizarrely failed to get a US visa to travel for what would have been a spectacular family outing.
However, he was confident that the most important job had been done in training.
“I was extremely sad, but I told someone at the US embassy that even if they denied me a visa, my wife would win the race in Boston,” said Koech, a former marathon star.
Athletics Kenya is under pressure to name the Kenyan team to the World Championships as early as next week after this Sunday’s London Marathon where Kenya’s 5,000 metres Olympic champion Vivian Cheruiyot will be making her full marathon debut along with World Half Marathon Championships silver medallist Bedan Karoki.
Cheruiyot told journalists in London on Thursday that she isn’t targeting a specific time on her London Marathon debut.
“In London, I want to run for the experience and to run my best. I don’t want to say that I will run a particular time because it is my first marathon and I want to run without pressure,” she said.
She is in good company in London, that of seasoned marathoners Mary Keitany and Florence Kiplagat.