London Marathon champion Brigid Kosgei 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 having met in April during the London Marathon race, where Kosgei bagged victory winning in 2:18:20 ahead of her compatriot Vivian Cheruiyot, who clocked 2:20:14, while Ethiopia’s Roza Dereje was third clocking 2:20:51. Keitany managed to settle in fifth position clocking 2:20:58.
Last year, it was clean sweep in the women's category for Kenya as Vivian Cheruiyot (67:43) led her compatriots Brigid Kosgei (67:52) and Joyciline Jepkosgei (68:10) who were in second and third positions respectively.
Kosgei, who has been training in Kapsait in Elgeyo Marakwet, told Nation Sport that her training has been good ahead of the race.
Kosegi, who is going to defend her Chicago Marathon title in October, is optimistic that she will do better in the 21km race.
“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 the athlete who was set leave for UK on Thursday night.
Kosgei also said her build up has been good and she needs more time to finalise her program when she comes back after the race on Sunday.
“The race for me is just like a long run and that’s part of training. I won’t be looking at the competitors and I will just run my race and the best athlete will win, though I lost the title last year narrowly, I will be targeting the podium as a winner,” said the soft-spoken athlete.
On her part, Keitany said that she is preparing for the New York Marathon, where she is seeking to win her 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.
“Competition will be stiff, but I know the best athlete will emerge victorious,” said the New York Marathon champion.
Former 10,000m world champion Linet Masai and her sister, Magdaline Masai will also be using the race as part of preparations ahead of their major races.
Linet will be participating in the Amsterdam Marathon, while her younger sister, who finished second in Hamburg Marathon this year, will be lining up at the Toronto Marathon.