NAIROBI, Kenya, September 29- Florence Kiplagat, the world half marathon titleholder, hopes her strong showing at the Berlin Marathon will be enough for a call-up in the Kenyan London 2012 Olympics line-up.
Having started the race with the modest aim of just finishing her first full marathon after her debut in Boston ended in the despair of failing to finish, Kiplagat also appended her name as a possible successor to Paula Radcliffe as the world record holder over the distance.
“I was after only finishing and now, if given the chance to go to the Olympics, well and good. I managed to come out with 2:19 and my aim is to continue improving, even by a second,” Kiplagat told Capital Sport.
The freshly minted Berlin titleholder stated her resounding victory ushered her in the illustrious group of Kenyan ultimate distance queens who now hold four Marathon Majors titles.
London winner, Mary Keitany and Boston titleholder Caroline Kilel, who will compete in New York alongside the defending Big Apple winner and world champion, Edna Kiplagat are the others in that glittering company that the Berlin winner believes will obliterate Radcliffe’s 2:17:18 (set in 2002) benchmark in women marathon running.
Recently, world governing body IAAF ruled that Radcliffe’s 2:15:25 mark achieved a year later in London would not longer count as the world record since male pacemakers assisted the British star at the London Marathon where it was achieved.
“Yes, we can break the world record and bring it back to Kenya just like Patrick did in Berlin. Radcliffe’s record will be gone sooner or later and I will try to break it and I believe I can do it,” the 24-year-old who raced 2:19:43 to scorch home favourite and former Marathon Majors winner Irina Mikitenko and the British record holder in Berlin on Sunday said.
The 2009 World Cross senior women individual and team gold winner told her moment of crowning glory as, “I was just after finishing the race and after I left them after 15km I got the strength to finish when I saw they were not coming after me and I’m so happy.”
Kiplagat acknowledges powerful front running is the only way to guarantee success in marathon running at this age.
“Yeah, of course that is the way to go since you might go with a group until 35K and find that you do not have the strength to finish so the best thing is to leave them. Samuel (Wanjiru), Mutai (Geoffrey) and Makau (Patrick) have shown it’s the best thing to do,” Kiplagat said alluding to compatriots, the late Olympics men champion, Boston winner and the new world marathon record holder.
On how she would celebrate her landmark victory, the smiling champion offered, “To be honest, I do not know since I’m still confused. My target was just to cross the finish line then I won. I cannot explain the happiness, it’s too much.”
She dedicated her victory to her family and Italian coach, Renato Canova. “My success is their success and my daughter is so happy for me,” Kiplagat, who is married to Boston runner-up, Moses Mosop and blessed with daughter Aisha, said.
“For now, all I want to do is to be with them, relax and wait for what Canova tells me but I know I have to train harder since Florence is now one of the top marathoners.”
Mosop caused ripples in marathon running when he breezed to 2:03:06, the second fastest ever time recorded in a full marathon course in Boston but just like Mutai’s 2:03:02 winning effort, IAAF could not ratify it since the course is not certified as a world record route.
He later smashed the world 30,000 record in at the Pre Fontaine Classic when he ran 1:26:47.4 before stating he could race a 2:02 marathon.
Is there a possibility the distance running couple could one day own world marathon records? “It would be a dream but I pray it comes true,” Kiplagat, the more outgoing of the pair chuckled.