Defending champ Kiplagat confirms participation in Boston Marathon

Source: Xinhua| 2018-01-18 19:35:12|Editor: Yamei
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NAIROBI, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Two-time World marathon champion Edna Kiplagat of Kenya has confirmed she will compete in one half marathon in Japan prior to her title defence at the Boston Marathon in April.

Kiplagat, 38, will not be part of Kenya's contingent to the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia (April 4-15) but is focusing her energies on building her fitness with eyes on title defense in Boston.

However, to gauge her preparedness, Kiplagat said on Thursday in Nairobi that she will be competing at the Kagawa Marugame Half Marathon, an IAAF Silver Label road race on Feb. 4.

"I have to test my body and see where I need to improve on ahead of the Boston Marathon. Running a half marathon will give me the test I require, and I am happy (that the) Marugame organizers have given me that platform," she said.

World record holder Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea heads the men's entries, while Kiplagat of Kenya is the top name in the women's field.

Five-time world half-marathon champion Tadese, who set the world record of 58:23 back in 2010, will be competing in Marugame for the first time in his long and distinguished career.

He will face the likes of Kenyan trio Bernard Kimani, Dominic Kiptarus and Wilson Kiprono Too, as well as Uganda's Moses Kibet.

Local fans will be hoping that national record holder Yuta Shitara, or even compatriots Kenta Murayama and Keijiro Mogi, will become the first Japanese athletes in 12 years to win the men's race in Marugame.

Kiplagat, who last year earned the silver medal in the marathon at the IAAF World Championships in London just three months before turning 38, will also be making her Marugame debut. She will then head to the United States for the Boston Marathon in April.

"I look forward to the challenge next April to once again race against the world's best athletes," she added. "But for now the focus is at Marugame half marathon. It has some of the best runners too," she said.

Japan's Kayoko Fukushi, a three-time winner in Marugame, is also in the field, along with compatriots Michi Numata and Mai Ito.

Kenya's Betsy Saina, the United States' Sara Hall and Australia's Jessica Trengove will also line up for the race next month.