The 33-year-old two-time world champion is seeking her second title in the Big Apple.
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NEW YORK — Returning to New York, Edna Kiplagat is calm and confident. The 33-year-old from Kenya is seeking her second ING New York City Marathon title in four years while also trying to capture the 2012-2013 World Marathon Majors title. Some may call the task at hand overwhelming. For Kiplagat, it is business as usual.
“I know it’s going to be a great success for me if I win this, because I’ll have won the Marathon Majors and it’s going to be something I’m going to remember for the rest of my life,” Kiplagat told Race Results Weekly in an assuring tone on Thursday.
Arguably the most decorated marathoner in this year’s field, Kiplagat comes into Sunday’s race eager to add another title to her illustrious resume. Among her accolades are the 2010 ING New York City Marathon title, gold medals at the 2011 and 2013 IAAF World Championships Marathon, and placing in the top three at the Virgin London Marathon for three years in a row.
If Kiplagat wins or places second ahead of fellow Kenyan Priscah Jeptoo, she will take home $500,000 as the World Marathon Majors winner, something that is particularly important to her because she was unable to run in New York last year because of Super Storm Sandy. The race cancellation knocked her out of contention for the 2011/2012 World Marathon Majors points title.
“It’s my main focus because now I have to get the points, and I am also looking forward to win for the second time,” Kiplagat said. In both the 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 World Marathon Majors standings, Kiplagat finished second.
Here, Kiplagat may have the hometown advantage. In addition to her 2010 win, the native of Iten won the 2012 NYRR Mini 10-K and placed second at the 2011 NYC Half. Having raced often in the city, Kiplagat said she’s grown to love the area, specifically the many fans who line the course to cheer her on.
“It is very special because here in New York I have lots of fans. The organizers are very good and I like the course and everything which goes on here in New York,” she said. “It is exciting. Everything in New York is good and I like it.
Just speaking of the city brings a glow to Kiplagat’s face. When asked her memories of the 2010 title, her face lights up even more.
“The biggest memory was that it was one of the biggest races that I have run before,” she said. “After winning New York, I can say it was the biggest thing for me.”
Biggest of her life, including both World Championships medals?
“Uh huh,” she added with a smile and head nod.
To win on Sunday would place Kiplagat on a who’s who list of multiple-time champions, of which marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe and running legend Grete Waitz are a part. Course record holder Margaret Okayo and Tegla Loroupe are the only two-time winners from Kenya.
“Training has gone very well and I am happy I am back after the World Championships,” said Kiplagat. “I have not had any problems and I am looking forward to win the race.”