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Kiplagat eyes hammering the clock

KIPLAGAT-BEERBERLIN, Germany, September 26 – Former winner Florence Kiplagat of Kenya is targeting a fast time in Sunday’s Berlin marathon as she bids to emulate her 2011 victory.

The 26-year-old clocked 2 hrs 19mins 44secs to win the 2011 Berlin marathon when she finished the second half of the course in a faster time than the first.

Kiplagat’s main rivals for Sunday’s marathon are German record-holder Irina Mikitenko, the 2008 winner in Berlin, plus Kenya’s Sharon Cherop, who won the 2012 Boston marathon, and Desiree Davila of the USA.

“I am in good form, but so are my rivals,” said Kiplagat, the 2010 half marathon world champion, with Britain’s Paula Radcliffe having set the women’s world record of 2:15.25 in London in 2003.

“As for the time, I don’t know if I can run another 2:19 again, we’ll have to see.”

With some 47,614 runners registered to race, Ethiopia’s Haile Gebrselassie, who set world record times here in 2007 and 2008, is the official starter over the 42.195 kilometres (26.2mi) where Kenya’s Patrick Makau set the current world record in 2011.

The Kenyan’s time of 2:03.38 remains the target to beat and compatriot Wilson Kipsang, who missed the record by four seconds in Frankfurt two years ago, leads the field in the men’s race.

Fellow Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge, who won April’s Hamburg marathon, will also be pushing hard while Makau pulled out of the Berlin race earlier this month with a knee injury.

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