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Rescheduled major Marathon is set for October 4: Brigid ready to pop the champagne in London

ATHLETICS By Stephen Rutto | September 22nd 2020
Kenya's Brigid Jepchirchir Kosgei celebrates at the podium after winning the annual "Sao Silvestre Run", an international race through the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil December 31, 2019. REUTERS

Brigid all ready to pop the champagne in London race

Two other Kenyan women including World champion Ruth Chepngetich and Vivian Cheruiyot are gearing up for better shows in the race.

With only 12 days to the London marathon, World record holder Brigid Kosgei is getting ready for the titanic race.

Her last major marathon competition was the 2019 Chicago race where she stunningly stormed to a world record.

On October 4, Kosgei will be defending her 2019 title on the looped 26.2 mile (42.2km) course around St James’s Park in London – the marathon’s 2020 changed course.

Since June, Kosgei retreated to her remote training base in the hilly and high altitude area of Kapsait on the border of Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot Counties as she gets ready for the race expected to be a thriller.

Given that she is the world record holder and reigning London marathon winner, she is under pressure and has  been pulling out all the stops to take the crown for the third time.

Under the watchful eye of her coach Erick Kimaiyo, Kosgei embarked on a rigorous training, taking every aspect of her training one step at a time.

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By last weekend, she had already said she was ready for London.

Kosgei made an attempt to break the one hour record at Brussels Diamond League in a grueling race against Britain’s Sifan Hassan who eventually smashed the record.

But the Kenyan was disqualified for stepping on to the infield in the closing stages of the race, but that did not seem to discourage her because three days later, she was back on her training for the London marathon.

“I am happy to be back home to train with my group in Kasangur hills (in Kapsait). My sight is now turning to London,” Kosgei said a day after returning from Brussels.

She has been shuttling between 2,900m above sea level training camp in Kapsait for her long runs and 2,400m Lornah Kiplagat Academy track for her speed work.

“Two weeks to the London marathon. I am doing speed work to gauge my strength,” she said after a training session in Iten last Saturday.

In Kapsait, despite the Covid-19 restrictions, she runs with a lean team of other athletes who are under the guidance of coach Kimaiyo.

Notable among the athletes helping Kosgei improve on her speed is 5000m World Under 20 champion Edward Zakayo, among other stars.

“It is an easy long run around Kapsait. Training as a team, running as a team, getting faster a team,” the world record holder posted on her Facebook page.

She will be going head-to-head with her compatriot Vivian Cheruiyot, who won the race in 2018 and finished second in last year’s marathon.

Reigning world champion Ruth Chepengetich will be challenging the duo for the title in a race that will also feature four Ethiopian women; Roza Dereje, Ashete Bekere, Degitu Azimeraw and Alemu Magertu.

Kosgei was in January chosen to lead the country’s women’s marathon squad that also has Cheruiyot and Ruth Chepng’etich for the now rescheduled 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, where she will be making her debut at the Summer Games.

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