London Marathon champion Brigid Kosgei and New York Marathon champion and women’s only world record holder Mary Keitany are set to clash on Sunday when they line up for the famous Great North Run Half Marathon race in the United Kingdom.
The two athletes will renew their rivalry on Sunday after having met in April during the London Marathon race where Kosgei won in 2:18:20 ahead of compatriot Vivian Cheruiyot who clocked 2:20:14 while Ethiopia’s Roza Dereje was third clocking 2:20:51. Keitany settled for fifth in 2:20:58.
Last year's edition saw a clean sweep for Kenya in the women's race as Vivian Cheruiyot (67:43) led Kosgei (67:52) and Joyciline Jepkosgei (68:10) who finished second and third positions respectively.
Kosgei who has been training in Kapsait in Elgeyo Marakwet told Nation Sport that her training has been good and she is looking forward to a good race. The Chicago Marathon champion is going to use the race to prepare for her title defence next month.
“My training has been good though I’m not through with my marathon program. I will be using the race on Sunday to gauge my performance ahead of the big race in October,” said Kosgei on Saturday before jetting out of the country.
Kosgei also said her build-up to Chicago Marathon has been good and she needs more time to finalise her program after Sunday's race.
“This race is just like a long run and that’s part of training. I won’t be looking at the competitors, I will just run my race and the best athlete will win. Though I narrowly lost the title last year, I will be targeting the podium as a winner,” said the soft-spoken Kosgei.
On her part, Keitany said that she is preparing for the New York Marathon where she is seeking a fifth title.
“I love participating in the Great North Half Marathon to gauge my performance ahead of the battle ahead. Covering more than 200km in a week is good progress and I’m going to see what the race will offer on Sunday,” said Keitany who has been training in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet.
Keitany said that she is happy that her competitors will be in the same race.
“We shall be competing with other athletes including Kosgei who beat me in London and we shall be using the race as part of preparations. Competition will be stiff,” said the New York Marathon champion.
Former 10,000m world champion Linet Masai and her sibling Magdalene Masai will also be using the race as part of preparations for major races.
Linet will be participating in the Amsterdam Marathon while her younger sister Magdalene who finished second in Hamburg Marathon this year will be lining up for the Toronto Marathon.