Marathon record-holder Assefa out to break London women's best

athletics18 April 2024 16:00| © AFP
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Tigst Assefa @ Getty Images

World record-holder Tigst Assefa is aiming to break the women's-only course mark at the London Marathon when she makes her debut in the race on Sunday.

The 27-year-old Ethiopian smashed the world record when completing the Berlin Marathon in two hours, 11 minutes and 53 seconds in September alongside male pacemakers.

She is now set for her first London Marathon and is targeting the women's-only course record of 2:17:01 set by Kenya's Mary Keitany in 2017.

Retired British star Paula Radcliffe ran a time of 2:15:25 in a mixed-sex marathon in London in 2003, using male pacemakers.

"I am very happy to be in London for the first time," Assefa said during a pre-race press conference on Thursday.

"I did train very well for Berlin and I have trained well for this one. God will show how good I am on Sunday.

"I have prepared very well for this race and I am sure I can beat the course record here. As I am sure all my competitors here will feel as well."

"Regardless of whether it is London or Berlin, it will not change my strategy at all," she added. "I am here to win."

Also attending the press conference was Brigid Kosgei, the previous world record-holder.

The Kenyan is a two-time London champion, but she failed to finish last year's race due to injury.

"I am happy to be here again this year," Kosgei said. "Last year when I reached here I was not feeling well. I have been preparing well in Kenya and I am ready."

Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir, third in 2023, said a course record could be set this weekend given the quality of the field.

"On Sunday I know the field is strong and I know it is not easy," she said.

"We are running with strong ladies. For myself, when I see the field is strong, I see the (course) record on Sunday."