Patient Edna Kiplagat Is Rewarded As She Becomes First Woman To Ever Defend World Marathon Title
Edna Kiplagat of Kenya became the first woman to repeat as marathon World Champion as veteran American Deena Kastor finished 9th in what may be the final competitive marathon of her great career.
By David Monti @d9monti
(c) 2013 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Quick Takes added by LetsRun.com.
MOSCOW (10-Aug) — At the 10-kilometer mark of women’s marathon here
at the 14th IAAF World Championships today, defending world champion
Edna Kiplagat was running in 15th position, 29 seconds behind the
leader, Italy’s Valeria Straneo. Defying the hot and humid
conditions, the Italian record holder had hit the 10-K mark in 34:12,
a 2:24:30 pace, with seven other women close behind. Kiplagat seemed
“I just wanted to let my body relax a bit and prepare my mind,” said
the soft-spoken Kenyan. She continued: “I wanted to get to know about
By the time the event was over, the 33 year-old athlete more than knew
the three-loop course by the Moscow River: she had mastered it.
Displaying the patience and confidence of a true champion, she slowly
caught the lead group while Straneo, like a tiny locomotive, continued
to keep the pace honest. Kiplagat didn’t know then that it would come
down to just she and the Italian in the final kilometers and that she
would prevail in 2:25:44, becoming the first woman ever to
successfully defend a world marathon title. It was harder than she
“My body was tired from the start,” Kiplagat admitted. “When we
started the race, it did not react immediately so I had to start
running slowly.” She added: “It was hard for me.”
Kiplagat didn’t join the lead group of Straneo, Ethiopia’s Meselech
Melkamu and Feyese Tadesse, Kenya’s Valentine Kipketer and Lucy Kabuu,
China’s Jia Chaofeng, and Japan’s Kayoko Fukushi until 15 kilometers.
At that point, Straneo was content to lead, saying that she was
feeling good and that the hot weather didn’t bother her.
“Because I just did my pace,” Straneo told reporters. “I felt
comfortable at this pace. So I just run; I didn’t care about the
other girls.” She added: “I was happy today it was warm because I run
well in warm weather.”
Straneo kept each 5-kilometer segment well under 18 minutes, and
slowly the pack melted away behind her. By halfway (1:12:58), the
lead pack was six, then dwindled to just four by 25-K (1:26:36):
Straneo, Melkamu, Kiplagat and Fukushi. The medals would come from
this group, but who would win them? Fukushi said she wasn’t worried
about that, at least not yet.
“I just tried to enjoy myself,” she said through a translator. “I
just thought about enjoying the race.”
Between 30 and 35 kilometers, Straneo and Kiplagat dropped Melkamu,
who was quickly overtaken by Fukushi who –without knowing it at the
moment– had locked in the bronze medal. Ahead of her, Straneo ran
stride for stride with Kiplagat until 40 kilometers (2:18:22).
Straneo thought she was dreaming.
“I couldn’t believe it because I just turned behind at 35 kilometers
and just saw one girl,” Straneo recounted. “I can’t believe it.”
Just steps beyond the 40-K point, Kiplagat surged and Straneo had no
answer. The Italian knew immediately that she was running for second.
“I expected that Edna would pull away,” Straneo said. “My legs hurt
so bad, so I keep my pace. I couldn’t change my pace.”
Kiplagat glided into Luzhniki Stadium alone and soaked up the applause
of the modest-sized crowd. She raised her arms as she broke the tape
and ran into the history books. Straneo clocked 2:25:58, and Fukushi
“It was hard because the effort was not easy and I know everybody was
going for a medal,” Kiplagat concluded. “They knew the defending
champion was coming.”
Well behind on time (2:36:12), but still in ninth place, American
Deena Kastor ran what she said may be her final high-level marathon, and
her first in a World Championships. The 2004 Olympic bronze medalist
said she gave it her all, but the head and humidity were just too
“It was a torture,” said the always-gracious Kastor, 40. She
continued: “It was a hard race out there. I felt like I was trying to
get those negative thoughts out, so it was a lot of mental work out
In all 46 women finished, but 23 more dropped out.
More by LetsRun.com beloq- quick takes and results.
Quick Take #1: You can listen to an LRC post-race audio interview of Kastor here. In it, she was asked, “Did we just see your last high level marathon?”
She replied, “I’d hate to make an emotional decision but I think that was my last one. It was just a real struggle out there. It was really hard to stay at it that long. I felt like it was a pep talk from 5k on and usually you give yourself that pep talk the last 5k. It was a mental struggle the whole way.”
If this is her last marathon, Kastor has had a great career. An Olympic bronze, an American record and wins in Chicago and London. Not too shabby.
(We’ve also got a video interview here).
QT #2: We hope she does take some time because it was brutally hot out this afternoon when the marathon was run, roughly 28-29 Celsius which is 82-84 degrees but that’s in the shade and they were being baked in the sun.
QT #3: There were two other Americans in the race. The Hansons-Brooks Dorothy ‘Dot’ McMahan accomplished her pre-race goal of top 20 by placing 18th in 2:39:52.
Jeannette Faber, who came in seeded 41st, was happy with her finish but she mistakenly thought she’d finished 19th and not 23rd in 2:44:03. We doubt the truth changes too much for her as she said she was focused on finishing higher than her seed (41st) and also said it was great to finish near her place the Olympic Trials last year (21st).
|1||565||Edna Ngeringwony Kiplagat||KEN||2:25:44|
|24||561||Lucy Wangui Kabuu||KEN||2:44:06||SB|
|564||Valentine Jepkorir Kipketer||KEN||DNF|
|792||Patricia Morceli Bühler||SUI||DNS|