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Record holder Brigid Kosgei places Tokyo gold in sharp focus

ATHLETICS By Stephen Rutto | May 24th 2021
Kenya's Brigid Kosgei crosses the line to win the London Marathon in London, England, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. (Richard Heathcote, Pool via AP)

Women’s world marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei says she has fully recovered from a slight leg injury and has set her sights firmly on chasing the Olympic gold in Tokyo.

The 26-year-old, who is managed by the Italy-based Rosa Associati stable, is currently training at her traditional Kapsait base and has responded perfectly to a recovery regimen that included sessions with Italian physiotherapist Sebastiano Erbi, who spent some time monitoring her progress at the Nike Kapsait Athletics Camp in Elgeyo Marakwet County.

She tested herself at last month’s Istanbul half marathon, finishing fifth (one hour, six minutes and one second) in a race won by compatriot and fellow Olympics-bound world marathon champion Ruth Chepng’etich in a world record time of 1:04:02.

“I had some minor injury when I went to the half marathon (in Istanbul) but now I’m back fully fit and I will concentrate all my training at Kapsait until departure to Olympics,” she said this week at her Kapsait camp.

Kosgei has signed up with Stanbic Bank Kenya as ambassador in the bank’s new brand campaign dubbed “It Can Be.”

The “It Can Be” campaign seeks to empower young men and women to achieve their big dreams with the world marathon record holder being used as ambassador to motivate them. 

Kosgei is happy with the way training has gone in the last few days.

“My body feels good and I want to push it to the limits and see how it responds on race day.

“We have a training group, and among them we have pacemakers who help push our pace,” she explains.

At Kapsait, Kosgei and her coach, former Honolulu Marathon champion Eric Kimaiyo, won’t easily let the cat out of the bag on training methods.

“We are mixing endurance and speed work with long runs,” is all Kosgei could offer, in typically guarded fashion.

She is happy with the conditions in Kapsait.

“The weather in Kapsait is good. Even when it rains, we still train and even when its cold, we also train… we are used to any weather conditions here

“We are also aware of the heat in Japan and that’s why we have some sessions at 4pm when the sun is still out,” she adds.

At times, Kosgei and team drive for close to two hours to Iten to access quality track sessions at the Lornah Kiplagat Academy and Stadium.

Kosgei has also maintained her diet with nothing special in the build-up to Japan. “My diet is the same and I haven’t changed anything…”

Kosgei was motivated to run from watching fellow Kenyans rising to the podium at global competitions.

“While I was in Standard Eight, I watched the Olympic Games on television and I told myself ‘one day I’d also like to represent Kenya too,’” she said in an earlier interview.

She would run to her primary school in Kapsowar in the morning, then back home for lunch and back again to school for afternoon classes.

“My home was quite a distance from school (10 kilometres) and I never wanted to be late that’s why I used to run quite a bit,” she added in the earlier interview.

It was when Kimayo encouraged her to join the Kapsait camp and take up running seriously in 2015 that Kosgei actually considered elite running.

“I used to fear the marathon… it was not easy, and I feared that one could even die on the road,” she said.

Besides Kosgei, the Kenyan women’s Olympic marathon team also has world champion Ruth Chepng’etich, world half marathon champion Peres Chepchirchir and multiple track world and Olympic champion Vivian Cheruiyot.

 

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