Mary Keitany will attempt to break Paula Radcliffe’s world record at the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon.
The reigning London Marathon champion said: “The marathon world record is something that I have been working towards for several years and I feel I am now in the position where I can really attack the time of 2:15:25.”
The 36-year-old Kenyan, a three-time London Marathon winner, is already the holder of the women-only marathon world record which she set by winning in the UK capital last year in 2:17:01. In doing so, Keitany beat Radcliffe’s women-only world best of 2:17:42 and now wants to rewrite the record book again.
Like Radcliffe did when she set the world record at the 2003 London Marathon, Keitany will be running with male pacemakers on April 22 in her bid to run inside the Briton’s iconic mark of 2:15:25.
During her win last year, Keitany went through the halfway point more than a minute faster than Radcliffe did on the way to her record in 2003. However, her pacemaker fell away soon after and Keitany found herself alone and falling off that searing pace.
“At last year’s Virgin Money London Marathon, I was feeling good but it was hard to run nearly half the race on my own,” the latest addition to the London Marathon’s elite fields said. “By having male pacemakers, I will be able to have the support throughout the race.
“Obviously, any world record is contingent on everything being right on the day. London has shown it has the course for world records to be broken and I hope my form and health stay strong and that the weather is kind on the day.
“I know the record was set by Paula Radcliffe on this course in 2003 and that she is a very popular person in Great Britain but I really hope the London crowds get behind my challenge and can help drive me on to achieve something incredible.”
Hugh Brasher, Event Director of the Virgin Money London Marathon, said: “Paula Radcliffe’s world record at the 2003 London Marathon was one of the greatest sporting achievements ever seen, and we are hugely excited to learn that Mary feels in a position to challenge that run.
“No one has got near Paula’s mark for 15 years and for Mary to commit to attacking it shows her courage and the belief in her athletic ability. It is fitting that the bid to break the record will take place in London where Paula’s record was set and this is yet another example of the incredible stature of the Virgin Money London Marathon. The world’s greatest athletes want to come here to create history.”
As well as a battle against the clock, Keitany will also be in a duel with her great Ethiopian rival Tirunesh Dibaba who confirmed her participation on Tuesday (23 January). The 2017 marathon world champion Rose Chelimo will also be part of the elite women’s field, it was announced on Wednesday.