The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Marathoner to Defend Title in Moscow

WORLD marathon champion Edna Kiplagat will defend her title at the 14th IAAF World Championships in athletics in Moscow next year. Speaking in Eldoret, Kiplagat said she is intensifying her training in a bid to defend her women's marathon title.

The world championship is scheduled for August 10-18 in Moscow. "As they say, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step and I have started my preparations towards the games. A champion is made of calculated preparations and dedication and that is why we prepare every time on the road." Kiplagat said.

Kiplagat, the never shy athlete however said she is not preparing for any race abroad at the moment since she intends to start p her build up next year.

"After the cancellation of the ING New York City Marathon, I decided to do my own training here at home but next year I will participate in races abroad as part of my build up for the world championships," she added.

She was among the athletes who were in top contention for the World Marathon Majors women's title that was won by the Mary Keitany.

Kiplagat who established herself as an elite marathoner after winning the 2010 Los Angels and New York City marathon boasts of a personal best time of 2.19.50 she clocked at this years' virgin London marathon.

She was also a 10,000m, 5000m and 3000m runner before switching to the road race where she has proved a dominant force. She won silver and bronze medals at the 1996 and 1998 world junior championships respectively in the women's 3000m.

Meanwhile in Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Kenyans Kennedy Kithuka of Texas Tech University and Betsy Saina of Iowa State were the men's and women's winners in course record times at the NCAA Cross Country championships at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer Park last weekend.

Kithuka won with a solo effort in the men's 10K race in 28:28 while Saina notched a dramatic homestretch victory over Abbey D'Agostino of Dartmouth College and Jordan Hasay of the University of Oregon to win the women's 6km 19:27.

Kithuka pulled away steadily over the last three kilometres from the Arizona duo of Stephen Sambu and Lawi Lalanga to win his first NCAA title. It was the third national cross country title for Kithuka, a junior transfer from Wayland Baptist who won the 2010 and 2011 NAIA titles.

Kithuka wore the same spikes with which he won his NAIA titles and plans to run in them again in 2013 in defense of his NCAA title.

Sambu, a senior, finished second in 28:38 and 2011 champion Lalang, a sophomore who had been undefeated during his collegiate career, was third in 28:51. Kithuka, Sambu and Lalang were the only runners under 29 minutes over the bumpy grass multi-loop course. Sambu and Lalang became the first two runners from the same school to finish among the top three of the NCAA championships since 2005.

Kithuka, Sambu and Lalang shared the lead through the first five kilometres before Kithuka built a three-second lead shortly after the four-mile point and to seven seconds with a mile to go. Kithuka ran the final homestretch with both arms outstretched in victory. "The last one-K, I was just relaxing," Kithuka said. "I knew that I've got it now."

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