Brigid Kosgey eyes third straight London marathon title: "But for me winning the Olympics is more important"

Kenya's Olympic silver medallist Kosgey looks to defend her women's elite crown in the British capital on Sunday 3 October.

By Evelyn Watta

Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medallist Brigid Kosgei is recovered and primed for her title defence on the streets of London on Sunday 3 October.

But missing the gold in Tokyo nearly two months ago still haunts her.

The Kenyan - who broke the world record during the Chicago marathon in 2019 - says she would love to win again on her 'favourite' London course, but the Olympic title remains her career focus.

“After the Olympic race my body felt tired, but I rested for two days and did some necessary corrections in training,” she said at a press conference in London on Thursday 30 September.

“Winning London is good. But for me winning the Olympics is more important for the future.”

In London Kosgei will lead a women’s elite field that also includes the Ethiopian trio of Roza Dereje, fourth at the Olympics, Birhane Dibaba, and Tigist Girma who also raced in Sapporo on 6 August.

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Picture by 2021 Getty Images

The silver at her debut Olympics in Tokyo was a career highlight but not the result Kosgei had hoped for.

And now she is just hours away from her second major race of the season on a course she has mastered before by storming to victory twice.

But her mind is still on the Olympic race where she finished behind compatriot Peres Jepchirchir.

Ready for title defence

“I prefer the London weather to the one we had in Tokyo because I don’t train in hot conditions. So running there was hard, but I gave my best,” she recalled of the hot and humid conditions of her first Olympics race.

“Before coming here after the Olympic race my body felt tired, but I rested for two days and did some necessary corrections in training and that’s why I felt I could come here and run.”

Kosgei set the world record of 2:14:04 at the 2019 Chicago Marathon and has won London twice.

Her first time in 2018, she finished second behind compatriot Vivian Cheruiyot.

Then she became the youngest ever woman to win the London marathon in 2019, before defending it on the looped course at St. James Park last year.

“I didn’t like the looped course last year. I went around and round until I felt like my head was turning, turning, with no end. I am happy to be back and running straight.”

Even with the return to the traditional course, she will only aim for the top of the podium, and not to better her fastest time from London of 2:18:20.

“I am in shape somehow to push the time," said Kosgei.

“I have no plans for a course record as I just raced at the Olympics a month or so and I haven't put in the work [for a course record].

“I like London and I'll give my best on Sunday.”

A third title would put her at par with four other women who have won the London marathon at least thrice.

Norway’s Ingrid Kristiansen won her fourth in 1988, Katrin Dörre-Heinig of Germany earned her third in 1994, Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain added her third title in 2005 while Mary Keitany, who announced her retirement from running last week, was the last to win it thrice in 2017 setting the world record [women-only] as well.