LONDON, United Kingdom, Apr 18 – Kenya’s Mary Keitany will look to achieve a “lifetime goal” when she tries to topple Paula Radcliffe as the quickest woman ever to run a marathon with a fourth victory in London on Sunday.
Keitany lowered British heroine Radcliffe’s women-only record of two hours, 17 minutes and one second last year.
But the quickest that Radcliffe ever ran a marathon was when she posted a time of 2hrs 15 mins 25 secs in winning in London in 2003.
However, for much of that marathon Radcliffe was running alongside men, so the time was classified as a “mixed race” women’s world record by the International Association of Athletics Federations, who also recognise a women’s only record.
It is Radcliffe’s ‘mixed’ marathon record that the 36-year-old Keitany is now desperate to beat and she will even have male pacemakers to aid her quest on the streets of London this weekend.
“To run 2:15 is really something else,” Keitany said Wednesday.
“But I will try to follow in the footsteps of the legend, Paula, on Sunday.
“I must thank the race organisers for their decision to assist the women to see how fast we can go. With the male pacemakers we have a great opportunity and we have to try and see if it’s possible.”
Keitany added: “It would mean so much to me because I’ve had Paula’s record in mind since I started my career. She was an inspiration and that world record is still ahead of me as a lifetime goal. As long as I’m running I want to get it.”
But breaking the record is not Keitany’s only goal. Another victory on Sunday would take her past Radcliffe and level with Norway great Ingrid Kristiansen as a four-time winner of the London Marathon.
“Even if I don’t break the world record and I win the race, that would still mean the most to me,” said Keitany.
“Being a champion here is something very special in my life and to win four times would be amazing.
“I don’t feel any pressure for Sunday. I will just run the race and we’ll see what the time is at the end. The most important thing is I have to defend my title.”