Athletics Athletics

World champ Kiplagat eyes Sh42.475m payday

EDNA-KIPLAGATNAIROBI, Kenya, October 25- Ordinarily, Edna Kiplagat would have closed her season after clinching her second successive World Championships marathon gold medal in Moscow in August.

But the 32-year-old will be thrust at the deep end of the New York race on November 3 in an attempt to clinch the lucrative World Marathon Majors crown, which comes with the $500,000 (Sh42,475,000) jackpot.

“The inspiration and desire to run in New York is burning in me. I still have that extra energy to take on the world best and hope to do well and win the marathon,” said Kiplagat Friday in Iten,

“There is too much at stake. I still want to run a world record time, but at the moment, it is important that I focus on winning New York.”

On breaking Britain’s Paula Radcliffe’s world record of 2 hours, 15 minutes, 25 seconds set in 2003 in London, Kiplagat is optimistic, it can be done before the turns 35, where she plans to run her final race for Kenya at the Rio Olympics.

Namesake and Berlin titleholder, Florence Kiplagat has also expressed interest to make an attempt on the world record.

“The time has come for Kenyan women to try it,” she underscored.

“It is difficult for one person to manage it alone, but with teamwork we can succeed. Four of us have all managed to run under 2:20, and if we plan well and run as a team, it can be achievable.”

Edna (personal best 2:19:50), Florence (2:19:44), Rita Jeptoo (2:19:57) and Priscah Jeptoo (2:20:14) are the active Kenyan female marathoners who have dipped under 2:20.

Edna and Priscah, the London Marathon titleholder, are in the Big Apple showpiece that returns after last year’s cancellation due to super storm Sandy where victory for either will see them supplant Boston and Chicago champion, Rita , who will be in New York monitoring proceedings, as the second Kenyan female winner of the WMM after Mary Keitany.

However, the compatriots who raced to the 1-2 at the Daegu World Championships in 2011 face a daunting task against the clock since no woman has run sub-2:22 in the hilly course of New York.

“I believe it can be achieved if we take a joint approach to a particular race like the Berlin or London Marathon,” said Priscah, the Olympics silver medallist alluding to the two 26.2-mile events whose flat courses are open to faster times on the plot to bring the women’s marathon record to their country.

“There will have to be a collective responsibility for us to select a race to compete in, and, in the end allow one person to go for the record.”

But of course it easier said than done, putting in mind that all the four women have different managers whose demands are tailored towards winning races and earning WMM points that are crucial to their income.

For now the subject of world record can wait. On November 3, the two distance running stars will have just two issues on their mind, winning the race or defending their fort in the battle for the biennial circuit series jackpot.

In New York, the race for a share of the WMM jackpot has pit four athletes.

In the men’s race, Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda and late entry Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia will duke it out to claim the 2012-2013 World Marathon Majors crown for the men, the first time it will leave Kenyan hands since it was launched in the 2006/07 campaign.

The WMM has six big-city marathons – in London, Boston, Berlin, Chicago, and New York and latest addition, Tokyo in addition to the Olympic Games and IAAF World Championships on the year they occur.

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