(Reuters) - Defending champion and world record holder Brigid Kosgei expects to face problems during Sunday’s London Marathon because she is not used to running in a loop, the Kenyan said on Thursday.
London’s elite-only race amid the COVID-19 pandemic will be held without fans present on a 19.8-lap course in a “controlled secure biosphere” around St James’s Park, with the finish line in its traditional place on The Mall.
The 26-year-old Kosgei is competing in her first marathon since shattering Paula Radcliffe’s 16-year-old world record in Chicago in October last year with a time of two hours, 14 minutes, four seconds.
“I think it will be difficult to run in a loop because I have never been running in a loop, so I will try my best,” Kosgei told a virtual news conference.
“In the past two months I have been training with a smaller crew... due to this pandemic, I can’t say I will run this and this (time). We didn’t do a lot of training, like last year.”
Kosgei heads the women’s field in what is expected to be a fast course where times are eligible for Olympic qualification for next year’s postponed Tokyo Games.
World champion Ruth Chepngetich will be among her challengers and is looking forward to her first London Marathon.
“I’ve trained well, I’m feeling good and ready for the run on Sunday,” Chepngetich said.
“It will not change too much because people are cheering us (while watching) on TV. They’ll be there in spirit.”
Both runners said they will be wearing Nike’s carbon-plated Alphafly Next% shoes but Kosgei played down their importance.
“If I use the... shoes and the body isn’t there, you can’t run good. So for me it’s just the body (which enables me) to run good, not the shoes,” she said.
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond
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