Edna eyes third title in London: Marathon squad ready to battle for top honours with other athletes

By JONATHAN KOMEN: Wednesday, July 26th 2017 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Athletics
KENYAN MARATHON CHAMPIONS TRAIN IN ELDORET. World Marathon Champion Ednah Kiplagat (centre) and Betsy Saina participate in the final training before they leave the country to London next week. 25.07.2017. PHOTOS BY PETER OCHIENG/STANDARD.

Women charges seek to reclaim title lost to Ethiopia in Beijing 2015.

Two-time world marathon champion Edna Kiplagat longs to strike a hat-trick when the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships marathon showdown gets underway in London on Sunday next week.

Edna, who marks 21 years since making her debut at the national team during world junior championships in Sydney, Australia, in 1996, is keen to stage a brilliant show on her fourth appearance in worlds –after 2011 in Daegu, 2013 in Moscow and Beijing in 2015.

She carries a wealth of experience in marathon, having competed five times in London and a bonus at the 2012 London Olympics.

“I have had enough experience of competing in London; The London Marathon and London Olympics courses; all of them are flat and fast courses.

“You know, there is a difference between championships and the World Marathon Majors. For championships, you need a steady mind on the competition. You don’t strive so much for fast times and that’s why any athlete can win it. It depends largely on how you have trained, how you wake up and the weather conditions of the day.

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“I alternate training sessions; from early morning, mid-morning and sometimes, in the evening. This helps in getting used to the erratic weather conditions,” Edna said after some speed work sessions at Moi University's School of Law track yesterday.

Edna has won New York, London, Boston marathons and was second in Tokyo and Chicago marathons.

“That has really helped in understanding the dynamics and strategies of performing well in big marathons. I know it’s no easy but I have prepared well.”

She longs to become the first woman to win the World Championships marathon gold medal three times and surpass Catherine Ndereba’s two victories  (2003 and 2007) and silver in 2005.

Edna will also be out to reclaim the title Ethiopia’s Mare Dibaba won in Beijing in 2015. She will marshal forces with world silver medallist Helah Kiprop and Commonwealth Games marathon champion Philomena Cheyech.

Mare Dibaba will team up with Tirunesh Dibaba, while 2015 Tokyo winner Birhane Dibaba and Toronto Marathon champion Shure Demise, who will be making their major championships debuts, complete the Ethiopian front.

Meanwhile, national team head coach Julius Kirwa said they are doing final touches on the track and field squad at Kasarani Stadium.

“The training is okay. We are focusing on the final touches. We hope to have a successful championships and I'm sure we will emerge victorious in the end,” said Kirwa.

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