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King Kipsang: ‘I was in control’

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KIPSANG-LONDON-2NAIROBI, Kenya, April 15 – The homecoming party for Wilson Kipsang to celebrate his second London Marathon victory in an epic course record performance last Sunday will have to wait.

Upon arrival at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in the early hours of Tuesday, the world record holder immediately left to board another flight for South Africa where he has been invited as a guest speaker at a sports conference.

Kipsang returned alongside women’s runner-up, Florence Kiplagat, 2011 champion and previous course record holder, Emmanuel Mutai and two-time New York winner, Geoffrey Mutai.

“When they gave me the opportunity to control I had to run my race. According to how I planned, I saw the guys (pacemakers) were going to run at world record pace.

“The only place to speed up was from 30km and that is what I did for the last 12km,” Kipsang told of how he crafted his latest crowning glory as he reclaimed the London crown in 2:04:29, over 11 seconds under the previous standard of 2:40:40.

The 2:03:38 standard bearer who was welcomed by a handful of joyous kin from his Iten home at the airport before he left them to connect to Johannesburg will return to train for the BUPA Great Manchester Run on May 18.

Kipsang threw a huge church-themed celebration when he returned from Berlin last September with the world record in his Mindililwo Village in Iten.

Mutai, the 2011 winner who finished seventh in 2:08:19, explained why he decided to run despite fainting and slipping in his hotel room on the eve of the showdown.

“I decided to run because my body felt fine but for about 27km before I started feeling pain and from there, I decided just to fight for the finish.

“Of course, I could not allow Mo Farah to beat me and that is why I chased him hard when I saw he was ahead of me and ensured I will get there ahead of me,” the deposed course record holder added detailing how he reeled in the debutant Olympics and Worlds double track champion to force him down the finishing order.

His fall injured his head, shoulder and hip joint after finding himself on the bathroom floor after passing out.

“I’m disappointed for not achieving my aim since I had trained well and I was confident I could achieve. Competing in such a tough field is a good test to tell where you are.

“For now, I will take two months or so to recover before I plan for my future. There are other races in the course of the year and I will think whether I will return to London again,” the 2010/11 World Marathon Majors winner said of his chances of featuring in London for an eighth time next year.

Florence delighted

Two-time Berlin winner and world half marathon record holder, Florence Kiplagat, said she lost to a more seasoned runner adding she still has much to learn in the distance after following two-time World Champion, Edna Kiplagat (2:20:20) across the tape four seconds in arrears.

“Marathon (running) is something different. Edna is so experienced in marathon, she has run many marathons and I still have to gain more experience from her.

“I’m very happy about my position and my time. We did not want a situation where somebody from another country came between us because we are proud of each other. Priscah was injured and she had to stop so we continued with Edna,” the runner-up told.

Defending champion, Priscah Jeptoo, was forced off with a knee injury with 30K done and is in Italy to receive treatment a development the runners-up regretted since it denied Kenya a potential clean sweep with debutant and Ethiopia’s track queen, Tirunesh Dibaba, clocking 2:04:35 for third.

Also arriving back from London was First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta, 50, who became the first holder of her office to complete the classic distance in 7:04:29 in the company of her spouse and Head of State, Uhuru Kenyatta.

She was competing to raise funds for her Beyond Zero charity that aims at equipping all 47 counties in the country with mobile clinics to encourage women and children to access healthcare.

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