Brigid Kosgei believes she can still win a third London Marathon title despite recent injury problems.
The Kenyan, who won the London Marathon in 2019 and again in 2020, when only elite participants were allowed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, enters Sunday’s race as the world-record holder for women running in a mixed-sex marathon.
“I was well prepared, but then some weeks back I was suffering in my hamstring and in my knee, but I think the injury has become not so bad, that is why I tried to come here,” Kosgei told a pre-race press conference on Friday.
Kosgei added: “The field is not easy, it is very strong because everyone wants to be a winner, so we will all do our best on Sunday.”
Defending champion Yalemzerf Yehualaw won last year’s race in October in two hours, 17 minutes and 26 seconds, the third fastest at the event, to finish ahead of previous winner Joyciline Jepkosgei, a Kenyan.
Yehualaw, a 23-year-old Ethiopian, is aiming to follow Kosgei in winning back-to-back London Marathon titles in a strong field that also includes reigning Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir, a Kenyan. Dutch runner Sifan Hassan is set to make her marathon debut following 10,000 metres and 5,000m gold at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
“I am so happy to be back in London, a beautiful city with great competition. My preparation has gone very well,” said Yehualaw. “I want to defend my title on Sunday and am ready to do my best.”
“I am in good shape. I am just focused on a long run like before (rather than any specific time), and I like that.”
Jepchirchir, who also won the 2021 New York Marathon and last year’s Boston Marathon, feels the world record might be under threat on Sunday.
“The ladies are strong and if the weather will be fine on Sunday, I think the (world) record might go,” she said.
Britain’s Eilish McColgan, however, announced Friday she was withdrawing because of a knee problem.
The 32-year-old Scot, who won her first major title in the 10,000m at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, said: “I was sort of hopeful, to be honest. I had a bit of knee bursitis back in February, March time and it was something I could run through.
“But I couldn’t run through this. I’ve tried, trust me, but it has just got to the point where it is not going to be feasible to run a marathon this weekend.”
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