Veteran long-distance runner Mary Keitany has said she will attack the world record when she takes to the course to defend her London Marathon title on Sunday.
Briton Paula Radcliffe holds the marathon world record of 2:15:25 set on April 13, 2003 at the London Marathon, while Keitany set the "Women Only" record of 2:17:01 last year on the same course.
Paced by compatriot Caroline Chepkoech last year, Keitany, 35, erased 41 seconds from the previous women’s only record also held by Radcliffe.
Unlike last year, Keitany will be paced by male pacemakers as she attempts to lower Radcliffe’s all-time best mark.
“My training went on well despite the heavy rains that has been pounding the area. I’m looking forward to a good race on Sunday,” said Keitany, who was born in Kisok village, Kabarnet, Baringo County.
Keitany’s preparations for the race started three months ago, with the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in February part of her training for the race. She finished second behind compatriot Fancy Chemutai.
“I want to really thank my pacemaker Justus (Kiprono) together with my husband. He is a hero,” added the athlete, who is trained by her husband Charles Koech.
Keitany faces stiff competition from Ethiopia’s long-distance icon Tirunesh Dibaba, who was second last year, Berlin Marathon champion Gladys Cherono (2:19:25), Honolulu Marathon winner Brigid Kosgei (2:20:22).
Frankfurt Marathon champion Vivian Cheruiyot (2:23:35) and Ethiopia’s Mare Dibaba (2:19:52) are also in the mix in London.