Jeptoo eyes London marathon title defence in April
22 January 2014, 17:40
Nairobi - Time will be not crucial for Kenya's Olympic silver
medallist Priscah Jeptoo, when she puts her London Marathon title on the
line on April 13.
"I ran my personal best time last year and won the race. But the main
challenge for me now is to defend successfully the title and if at all
it will come with another faster time, then that will be a bonus,"
Jeptoo told Xinhua Wednesday in Kapsabet
"Running in London is not a small task. All the other athletes come
with an aim of winning and they are the best we have. So it will be a
tough call, but I hope I will withstand their pressure and reign at the
end," she said.
Organizers of the London marathon have released the list of the elite
women to compete in the event, which reads who is who in the 42km
The Olympic champion, the world champion and one of the greatest
distance runners of all time will be among Jeptoo's opponents on April
Jeptoo produced the world's second fastest time of 2013 to win the
London Marathon last April and the Kenyan will need to be equally
impressive this year as she steps up to defend her crown against an
The elite field includes three athletes who have run quicker than two
hours 20 minutes and eight who have finished in under 2:25, plus the
three-times Olympic track champion and multi-world record breaker
Tirunesh Dibaba, who is making her marathon debut.
Jeptoo will return to London full of confidence after enjoying a great year in 2013.
The Olympic silver medallist also won the Great North Run half
marathon in September and added the New York Marathon title in November,
a victory which made her half a million dollars richer as she clinched
the World Marathon Majors prize.
"I just started my training. It was bountiful year 2013 and I hope I
will enjoy another episode of good results in 2014. I hope to run under
the 2:19 mark and later if possible try to break the world record."
"I will be heading to Czech for the Prague Half Marathon in February
to gauge my endurance and speed and also the level of fitness my
training partners have. I intend to carry one of the two training
partners to London so it is important to gauge them in a competitive
race," said Jeptoo.
Jeptoo's main threat could again come from Tiki Gelana, the Ethiopian
who beat her to the Olympic title in pouring rain at London 2012 but
saw her London Marathon chances disappear last year when she
unfortunately clashed in a racing incident with Josh Cassidy, one of the
world's top wheelchair racers.
Gelana eventually finished 16th and a few months later dropped out of the World Championships marathon in Moscow.
As the fastest woman in the field, the Ethiopian record holder will
feel she has a point to prove on her return to the British capital.
Jeptoo will also face stiff competition from Edna Kiplagat, the
Kenyan who retained her world title in Moscow last August and has been
runner-up in London for the last two years.
"It was hard last year. The race was a bit slow so I will try and
push up the pace in the early stages and see how the rest responds. It
is a classy field so everyone will be watching the other," said
"But I focus more on my strength and winning London remains one of my
challenges," Edna Kiplagat told Xinhua on Wednesday from her training
base in Iten.
"Depending on the weather, I will try and run faster, but the target
is to win the race. I will not be running any races between now and
April so as to prepare well for the conquest."
Florence Kiplagat, who won the Berlin Marathon for a second time last
September, will also be dipping her toes in the murky waters at the
London Marathon. She was fourth in 2012 and sixth last year.
"The plan is to win. But I will see how the body responds when I
compete at the Barcelona Half Marathon next month. The opponents don't
concern me, I have to look at what I can offer and not who I am running
against," said Florence in Eldoret.
No doubt the favourites will all keep a wary eye on Tirunesh Dibaba,
however, as the Ethiopian steps up to the marathon after a glittering
career on the track.
Dibaba won the world 10,000m title for the third time in Moscow,
adding another gold medal to a collection that also includes two world
5000m crowns and three Olympic titles, plus numerous world records and
cross country honours.
Dibaba was due to make her debut last year but withdrew from the field with a shin injury just a month before the race.
She made a successful return to the roads last September after the
Moscow World Championships, breaking the Ethiopian 10km record in
Tilburg and finishing third behind Jeptoo and Meseret Defar at the Great
Two other Ethiopians will also be worth watching. Aberu Kebede has
twice won the Berlin Marathon and last year added victories in the Tokyo
and Shanghai Marathons.
Her record in London is less successful, however, she was ninth in 2011 and sixth two years ago.
Feysa Tadesse also comes with strong credentials. Having won the
Shanghai Marathon in 2012, she clinched the Paris Marathon last April
with a personal best just outside 2:21.
London Marathon race director Hugh Brasher said in a statement: "We
are delighted to welcome back Priscah Jeptoo. Our champion was a
deserved winner of the World Marathon Majors title and has shown with
her performances over the last two years that she will be extremely
difficult to beat."
"We are also pleased to see the world and Olympic champions on our
start line again. Both Edna and Tiki had reason to feel frustrated last
year. Edna because she just missed out for a second year in succession,
and Tiki because of her unfortunate accident. I am sure they will both
be determined to make their returns to London successful."
"All three will have to be at their very best to win the title in
2014 as our elite athlete coordinator David Bedford has again put
together a field to match any in the world. With so many proven
performers, and Tirunesh Dibaba making her debut, we have quite a race
2014 Elite Women's Field and Personal Bests:
Tiki Gelana (ETH), 2:18:58, 2012 Olympic marathon champion
Florence Kiplagat (KEN), 2:19:44, 2013 Berlin Marathon champion
Edna Kiplagat (KEN), 2:19:50, 2011 & 2013 World marathon champion
Priscah Jeptoo (KEN), 2:20:14, 2013 London Marathon champion
Aberu Kebede (ETH), 2:20:30, 2013 Tokyo Marathon champion
Feysa Tadesse (ETH), 2:21:06, 2013 Paris Marathon champion
Tetyana Hamera-Shmyrko (UKR), 2:23:58, 2013 Osaka Marathon champion
Jessica Augusto (POR), 2:24:33
Kim Smith (NZL), 2:25:21
Ana Dulce Felix (POR), 2:25:40
Nadia Ejjafini (ITA), 2:26:15
Diane Nukuri-Johnson (BDI), 2:29:54
Amy Whitehead (GBR), 2:33:44
Emma Stepto (GBR), 2:35:05
Tirunesh Dibaba (ETH), Debut
Gemma Steel (GBR), Debut
Lyudmila Konavalenko (UKR), Debut