Will Kipchoge match Edna Kiplagat's feat?

Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge celebrates after winning gold medal in men's marathon at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, yesterday morning. [AP]

World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge who will compete in Tokyo Marathon next month is gearing up to compete in all the six World Marathon Majors (WMM) series, which is no mean feat.

Should he realise this lofty dream, Kipchoge will no doubt stand on the same wavelength with Edna Kiplagat, the two-time world marathon champion.

New York, Boston, Chicago, Berlin, London and Tokyo as well as Olympic Games and World Championships form the WMM series.

So far, Edna has competed in all the six WMM races, twice at the World Championships and the Olympic Games –a feat no athlete on the planet has achieved save for America’s Shalane Flanagan, who did it for fun last year.

Flanagan completed the unprecedented challenge of running all six World Marathon Majors in 42 days at the New York City Marathon last November.

Edna has produced good shows in the WMM series. Sample her calling card: London Marathon winner in 2014 and second place in 2011, 2012, 2013 as well as 10th place in 2015. New York Marathon winner in 2010, ninth in 2013, 12th in 2014 and fourth in 2017.

Boston Marathon winner in 2017, ninth in 2018 and second place in 2019 and 2021.

In 2016, she finished third in Tokyo and Chicago marathons and a fourth place in Berlin Marathon in 2018. She won World Championships in 2011 and 2013 but finished a distant 19th at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

She was a runner up finisher behind Russia’s Liliya Shobukhova in the 2012/2013 WMM series and another runner up spot to Rita Jeptoo, the winner of 2013/2014 WMM series.

Florence Kiplagat, the two-time Berlin and Chicago marathons winner, has competed in four well-heeled marathons –London, Berlin, Chicago and Boston.

Florence, the 2009 world cross country champion, made her WMM series debut at the 2011 Boston Marathon, where she performed dismally.

She went ahead to win in Berlin in 2011 and 2013 and then made six appearances in London –2012 (fourth), 2013 (sixth), 2014 (runner up), 2015 (fifth), 2016 (third) and ninth in 2017.

She competed in Chicago four times –2014 (runner up), back to back wins in 2015 and 2016 before dropping out in 2017. Florence did not make World Championships and Olympic Games marathon teams.

Former world marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang also covered a huge ground in the WMM series.

He appeared at the London Marathon six times; won 2012 and 2014, fifth 2013 and 2016 and runner up 2015. He wound up 12th in 2019.

Kipsang won Berlin Marathon in a then world record time in 2013, runner up (2016), second runner up 2018 but did not finish in 2017. He won New York in 2014, fourth (2015) and runner up in 2017, where he also won Tokyo and could not finish in 2018.

Kipsang won bronze at the London 2012 Olympic Games but dropped out at the 2015 World Athletics Championships in Beijing, China.

Kipchoge is seen as the greatest marathon runner in history. A record-breaking four-time winner of the London Marathon, a three-time Berlin Marathon champion and the 2014 Chicago Marathon victor – Kipchoge will be pursuing victory at a fourth Marathon Major in Tokyo next month.

He has won a remarkable 13 of his 15 career marathons.


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