NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Two-time Chicago Marathon champion Florence
Kiplagat of Kenya will take on compatriot Brigid Kosgei as she
eyes a third win in the USA city on Sunday.
Kiplagat, a former
world half marathon record holder, has struggled to regain
fitness after she suffered career threatening muscle cramping in
last year’s Chicago Marathon race.
Kiplagat dropped out
of the race after 25km mark, citing a muscular injury that
ultimately prevented her from defending her Barcelona Half
Marathon title in March.
She has not competed
in 2018, so this year’s race in Chicago will mark her return to
“I have two battles
to fight. The obvious one against other athletes to win in
Chicago and the personal fight inside me on whether I am back to
my best and capable of racing at the top level again,” Kiplagat
said in Nairobi as she jetted out to USA.
Kiplagat is the 19th
fastest woman in history over the marathon distance with a
personal best of 2:19:44 from Berlin in 2011.
She has adopted an
aggressive front-running style that saw her win in Chicago in
2:21:32 two years ago, which was the thirteenth fastest female
time in Chicago Marathon history (now the 16th
fastest time) and the fifth fastest time run in 2016.
However, she will
face stiff challenge from Kosgei, who held on to clinch silver
medal behind eventual winner Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia last
There is also
two-time podium finisher Birhane Dibaba (Ethiopia) in a women’s
list that has nine runners, who have run 2:25:00 or faster.
“My focus on Sunday
is to finish in first position,” said Kiplagat. “But I have been
out for long and finishing is important for me.”
Kirui under no pressure to recapture Chicago marathon title
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Teammates and training partners Geoffrey Kamworor
and Abel Kirui have both won the world marathon championships
but there will be a wide rift between the two when they line up
at the Chicago marathon on Sunday.
The two lead a
battery of Kenyan road runners as they lay siege on the American
city eyeing to improve on their personal best times and conquer
the great Chicago course.
“It’s just now down
to days to the Chicago marathon and though we are friends with
Geoffrey and teammates, each must strive to win the race,” said
Kirui, who will be running his third Chicago marathon after
winning in 2016 and finishing second last year.
Kirui, a former
Olympic silver medalist, has had a splendid marathon career
since his debut in Berlin back in 2006 where he placed ninth in
He has twice been
crowned the world champion and also picked up wins in Vienna and
Last year, Kirui
returned to Chicago to defend his title but had to settle for
second position, some 28 seconds behind winner American Galen
In 2018, the
36-year-old Abel is back for his third successive appearance in
the “Windy City”, so what is it he loves about the event?
“I think there are a
lot of factors,” he says. “The course is very good and Chicago
is just a clean environment with the race set in a beautiful
city. I never feel any pressure in Chicago. I have had no
injuries, which was totally different to last year, and I am
very much hoping to be in the fight.”
Kenya has always had
a good performance in the men’s race in Chicago. Save for last
year, Kenyans have ruled the Chicago marathon course.
In 2013 former world
record holder Dennis Kimetto was the champion. A year later, it
was Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge, who has gone on to set a
new world record in Berlin at 2:01.39.
In 2015, it was
Dickson Chumba who triumphed while in 2016, Kirui ruled the
roost before Rupp disrupted the trend.
But the Kenyan
runners are keen to restore their dominance in the race this
year and are looking forward to fast time to cement their win.
Kenya will also have Choge, Kenneth Kipkemoi, Stephen Sambu
while Paris champion Paul Lonyangata has pulled out with an