Mary Keitany will be seeking a rare hat-trick when she lines up at the 35th Virgin London Marathon on Sunday.
Keitany, a former world 21km record holder, is keen to consolidate World Marathon Major (WMM) series points that would probably see her reclaim the $500,000 (Sh43 million) WMM jackpot she won in the 2012-2013 season.
Fresh from scoring a hat-trick at the Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) half marathon in February, Keitany has covered enough ground in training to catapult her to the throne in the United Kingdom’s premier 42km race.
But last night’s 119th Boston Marathon certainly causes a tilt in the WMM chase.
“I have won London twice and it is time I won a third time. This will bring me joy, especially in such a prestigious race,” Keitany said after her training session alongside London Marathon defending champion Ednah Kiplagat, 2013 winner Priscah Jeptoo and 2014 runner-up Florence Kiplagat.
Keitany, the mother of Jared Kipchumba and Samanta Jerop, said she was seeking to use the RAK 21km contest to improve her 42km personal best time, currently at 2:18:37, to at least sub 2:17.
“This is the right time for me to lower my marathon personal time,” she said.
A third win in London would make her the first woman in history to do so since its inception in 1982.
Charles Koech, her husband and half-marathon specialist, said Keitany could pull a surprise given her strong comeback after maternity leave that saw her win the Bupa Great North Run in England and RAK 21km race.
Having won the New York City Marathon, she looks poised for a competitive battle in the British capital.
She broke the Bupa Great North Run Half marathon course record, lowering it from 65:40 to 65:39 before setting a new course record of 31.22 at the Lowertown Brewery Ottawa 10km road race.
For inspiration, she simply sought to emulate older sister Ann Keitany, who battled Kenya’s athletics heroines.
Koech, whose three brothers are elite athletes said: “She shook the world when she returned from maternity leave. She just follows a good diet and the training responds well.”
Keitany said the world record held by Britain’s Paula Radcliffe may not be attained but she will always strive to improve her personal best.
“Breaking a world record is not easy, even Radcliffe’s is a task. It is hard to beat,” said Keitany, who has invested heavily in the hospitality sector and owns the Winstar Hotel in Eldoret.
“My husband (Koech) applauds me every time, so I have to prove that I am able,” she said.