Three-time New York Marathon champion Mary Keitany is optimistic she will retain her title next month with a fourth victory in the “Big Apple.”
The Iten-based athlete told Nation Sport during a training session along the Moiben-Eldoret road on Thursday that she has done “good training” and she is now “finalising” her preparations for the November 5 race.
“I’ve been training well and I think in some few days’ time, I’ll be through with my programme before I travel on 30th October for the big day,” said Keitany.
Fresh from winning this years’ Great North Run in Newcastle, England, last month, the champion is now eyeing the big prize though she says it is a hard task since everyone is training hard.
“I went to the Great North Run to gauge my performance and I was able to rectify and do fine-tuning which I’m almost through now.
“It is a hard task ahead because I know everybody is training hard to beat me,” said Keitany.
The London Marathon champion says the New York course is a “tough one.”
“The New York course is tough and sometimes it’s normally windy, but I know we will work well with my compatriots in a bid to win the race. It will be sweet victory for us if we take the first three positions,” she said.
She adds that her recovery period was enough for her to line up in the big race next month.
“Before embarking on training I had recovered well and for me to run well I needed three months of good training,” she said. In April’s London Marathon, Keitany ran a brilliant race and broke the “women only” marathon record when she clocked two hours, 17 minutes and one second, lowering Briton Paula Radcliffe’s previous time of 2:17:42.
Her husband Charles Koech, who doubles up as coach, says they have done enough training and what is remaining is fine tuning before the big race next month.
“Keitany is in good shape and we are optimistic that she will run well the way she did in London. We are almost through with the hard training before we embark on the fine-tuning part,” said Koech.
She will be teaming up with Boston Marathon champion and former two-time world marathon champion Edna Kiplagat and US-based Betsy Saina, who has been training in Iten and Eldoret.
The men’s race has attracted, among others, Tokyo Marathon champion Wilson Kipsang, two-time World Cross Country Championships gold medallist Geoffrey Kamworor and Lucas Rotich.
Keitany is a former half marathon world record holder, a feat she achieved at the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in the United Arab Emirates in 2011.
Keitany has also won other races including Sevilla Half marathon (2006), Lille Half marathon (2007), London Marathon (2011, 2012 and 2017) and New York (2014, 2015 and 2016).