Kibet to defend BUPA crown

October 21, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, October 21 – Reigning World marathon champion Luke Kibet will this weekend attempt to defend his BUPA Great South Run title in Portsmouth.

The 25 year old will also be looking to make up for a poor Beijing Olympics where he dropped out.

"I’m really looking forward to running there again, it’s a fast course and flat which suits my style of running," said Kibet after his fourth place finish at the half marathon distance at the recent BUPA Great North Run on October 5.

Kibet believes that race marked a return to form after injury wrecked his Olympic marathon ambitions. He did not finish in Beijing.

"I’m fully fit again and confident I can pull off another win no matter who else is in the field. I don’t think about them," confirmed Kibet.

He won last year in 47:31, well clear of Spain’s José Manuel Martínez (47:50). 
Britain’s Paula Radcliffe, the women’s World record holder for the marathon, also had a disappointing Olympic marathon campaign in Beijing, will be the favourite in the women’s race.

The 34 year old who has never who has never contested a Ten Miles race during her senior professional career, is making her first competitive outing at any distance since finishing in 23rd place in the Beijing Olympic marathon on 17 August in a lowly time for someone of her pedigree of 2:32:38.

The Briton, who was 2005 World marathon champion, has suffered from persistent injury for most of the last year and will be using the Portsmouth run as part of her final preparations for her New York marathon title defence on 2 November.

"I don’t know much about the course but I have heard it is fast and given that it is in the UK and part of Nova races, I’m sure the organisation and atmosphere will be great," said Radcliffe.

"Last time I remember racing over 10 miles was at the UK Championships in Chelmsford around 1990! I think I squeezed under the hour and Bedford won the team race," recalled Radcliffe about her last run at that distance when she was a teenager.

In Portsmouth, Radcliffe was to have faced compatriot Jo Pavey, who ran her personal best of 1:08:53 for the half-marathon when finishing third at the Great North Run on 5 October, but unfortunately today Pavey pulled out of Sunday’s race citing a groin injury.


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