LONDON (Reuters) - Kenyan marathon world champion Edna Kiplagat loves London and after a disappointing Olympic performance wants to finally last taste victory in the city she considers a second home.
Kiplagat is one of the favorites for Sunday’s London Marathon having finished third in 2011 and second last year, both times behind winner Mary Keitany who is not competing.
“London is one of my favorite races, it’s one of my favorite cities,” Kiplagat told Reuters on Thursday.
“I enjoy the shops, the community is good, the preparation are fantastic so I enjoy racing here in London. The crowds are very supportive.
“The people here in London are very nice, it’s like a second home for us as always when we come here, we don’t feel like we are visitors, we feel like we are coming home,” added the 33-year-old.
After the race, Kiplagat and her husband Gilbert will enjoy something of a busman’s holiday as they travel to Wiltshire in the west of England to visit a farm.
The pair have a small farm of their own in the high altitude town Iten, renowned for its distance runners.
“We’ll be staying for an extra five days,” Kiplagat said. “We want to visit a farm so we can see new machinery, new technology and what is in the farm that is new for us.”
Kiplagat’s previous marathon was in London, at the 2012 Olympics, but things did not go to plan and she faded badly in the latter stages to finish 20th.
“It was hard for me because I was expecting to run well but after 35 kms I tried to go in front but my body was tired and I could not respond any more,” the softly spoken Kenyan said.
“It was very disappointing because I was expecting to do well in London.”
The Olympic title went to little-known Ethiopian Tiki Gelana who upset the Kenyan favorites when she held off Priscah Jeptoo to win by just five seconds.
Both athletes have returned to London and this time the spotlight is very much on Gelana although she does not feel under any extra pressure.
“There is no pressure because I have the Olympic medal,” Gelana told Reuters through a translator. “I’ve come here to run and I hope to enjoy it.”
The women’s race starts in Blackheath at 0800 GMT. The weather forecast is for temperatures of between seven and 11 degrees Celsius with winds of 16 kms an hour.
Editing by John Mehaffey