Kiplagat promises song and dance on her comeback

By Jonathan Komen: Monday, April 6th 2020 at 04:37 GMT +3 | Athletics
Kiplagat to sing a new song on her comeback

Florence Jebet Kiplagat is determined to stage a splendid comeback in marathon later this year.

A persistent allergy to cold weather conditions saw her miss out of action for almost two seasons.

Florence, a two-time Berlin Marathon winner, said the coronavirus pandemic has denied her a chance to train with her teammates.

“I am happy to be back to training. I suffered from flu, which was later diagnosed as allergy. I was treated and have recovered,” she said.

“I expected to get an invite to one of the big marathons this month. But the coronavirus crisis has forced me to train alone.” 

“I’m my own pace-setter. It is challenging to train alone. I am used to training with my team. However, I expect to reach full fitness in June for me to be in a position of competing in October; either in London or Chicago marathons,” Florence, a former world 21km record holder, said yesterday.

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Florence, a die-hard fan of La Liga’s Barcelona side, is always unpredictable in her races and can pull a surprise on her return.

The 32-year-old has been in imperious form in the last six years, where she smashed the world 21km record twice; in 1:05:12 (in 2014) and 1:05:09 in 2015.

She trains under Italian marathon coach Renato Canova.

“I am confident of coming back stronger. My coach drew a programme, which I’m following. I hope the crisis on coronavirus will end soon,” she said.

After a runner-up finish in 2014, Florence hopes to return to United Kingdom’s premier 42km race with much gusto.

“I have a mental or even psychological problem when it comes to marathons because I feel it’s too tiresome. I always lose energy and the will-power as I approach the finish line. But I expect to do my best this time round,” she said.

Florence dramatically ended Kenya’s 16-year-old gold drought at the 2009 world cross-country championships in Amman, Jordan, before she later descended on the World Half Marathon title in Nanning, China, in 2011.

The London Marathon action usually gets underway around 11am Kenyan time, a timing that befits Florence’s surname Jebet, which means “broad daylight”.

That’s not bad for a girl who played football while in school–she is just like 2011 world 1,500m silver medallist Silas Kiplagat, Olympic javelin silver medallist and marathoner Nelson Kirwa Rotich.

“I never took part in athletics while in primary and secondary school. I was a striker in my teams and I even led the squad to national finals at Bukhungu Stadium, Kakamega.”

While at Sergoit Secondary School in Keiyo North, Florence incidentally played against her perennial rival at London Marathon Edna Kiplagat, who was a student in the nearby Kipsoen Secondary School.

“I am naturally talented. And that’s why I don’t strain when in competition.” she said.

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