Mary Keitany Will Use Male Pacers To Try And Break Paula Radcliffe’s 2:15:25 World Record At The 2018 London Marathon

Press Release
January 25, 2018

Kenya’s Mary Keitany will make an attempt to break Paula Radcliffe’s world record at the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 22 April.

Just as Radcliffe did when she set the world record at the 2003 London Marathon, Keitany will be running with male pacemakers in her bid to run inside the Briton’s iconic mark of 2 hours 15 minutes and 25 seconds.

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The 36-year-old Kenyan is already the holder of the women-only marathon world record which she set by winning last year’s Virgin Money London Marathon in 2:17:01. In doing so, Keitany beat Radcliffe’s women-only world best of 2:17:42 and now the Kenyan wants to rewrite the record book again.

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.

Keitany, the three-time 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.

“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. 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 yesterday.

The Abbott World Marathon Majors (AbbottWMM) Series XI concludes in London. Keitany and Dibaba, who finished runner up to Keitany at last year’s Virgin Money London Marathon, are currently joint top of the AbbottWMM Series XI leaderboard after Dibaba won the Chicago Marathon last October. Also in contention for the title are Shalane Flanagan (USA), who won the TCS New York City Marathon last November and who is set to run the Boston Marathon in April, together with Chelimo, who won the World Championships marathon and Gladys Cherono, winner of the BMW Berlin Marathon in September, both of whom run in London. See the AbbottWMM Series XI women’s leaderboard here

This is the final announcement of the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon Elite Week. A full list of all the elite fields can be found below.

Tonight [Thursday] at 18:00 GMT, the Virgin Money London Marathon will host a Facebook Live show featuring former British distance running international Tim Hutchings, the Virgin Money London Marathon elite field co-ordinator and former world 10,000m record holder Dave Bedford and Athletics Weekly’s web editor Jess Whittington.


Full Elite Fields

2018 London Elite Women’s Field
Mary Keitany, Kenya
Age: 36 | Marathon PB: 2:17:01
Three-time Virgin Money London Marathon & New York City Marathon champion

Tirunesh Dibaba, Ethiopia
Age: 32 | Marathon PB: 2:17:56
Multiple Olympic and world champion, 10,000m & 5,000m

Gladys Cherono, Kenya
Age: 34 | Marathon PB: 2:19:25
2014 world half marathon champion

Mare Dibaba, Ethiopia
Age: 28 | Marathon PB: 2:19:52
2015 World Marathon champion

Brigid Kosgei, Kenya
Age: 23 | Marathon PB: 2:20:22
2017 Honolulu Marathon championn

Tigist Tufa, Ethiopia
Age: 30 | Marathon PB: 2:21:52
2015 Virgin Money London Marathon champion

Tadelech Bekele, Ethiopia
Age: 26 | Marathon PB: 2:21:54

Rose Chelimo, Bahrain
Age: 32 | Marathon PB: 2:22:51
2017 marathon world champion

Vivian Cheruiyot, Kenya
Age: 34 | Marathon PB: 2:23:35
2016 Olympic 5000m champion; 2015 world 10,000m champion

Charlotte Purdue, Great Britain
Age: 26 | Marathon PB: 2:30:04

Stephanie Bruce, USA
Age: 34 | Marathon PB: 2:29:35

Allison Kieffer, USA
Age: 3028 | Marathon PB: 2:29:39
2017 New York Marathon 2nd place

Tracy Barlow, Great Britain
Age: 32 | Marathon PB: 2:30:42

Lily Partridge, Great Britain
Age: 26 | Marathon PB: 2:32:09

Anna Holm Jorgensen, Denmark
Age: 30 | Marathon PB: 2:33:02

Tish Jones, Great Britain
Age: 34 | Marathon PB: 2:33:56

Alia Gray, USA
Age: 29 | Marathon PB: 2:34:00

Liz Costello, USA
Age: 29 | Marathon PB: 2:38:21

Rebecca Murray, Great Britain
Age: 23 | Marathon PB: Debut

2018 London Elite Men’s FieldDaniel Wanjiru, Kenya
Age: 24 | Marathon PB: 2:05:21
2017 Virgin Money London Marathon champion

Kenenisa Bekele, Ethiopia
Age: 35 | Marathon PB: 2:03:03
2016 Berlin Marathon champion

Eliud Kipchoge, Kenya
Age: 33 | Marathon PB: 2:03:05
2016 Olympic champion

Guye Adola, Ethiopia
Age: 27 | Marathon PB: 2:03:46
2016 Berlin Marathon 2nd place

Stanley Biwott, Kenya
Age: 31 | Marathon PB: 2:03:51
2015 New York City Marathon champion

Abel Kirui, Kenya
Age: 35 | Marathon PB: 2:05:04
2009 and 2011 World Marathon champion

Lawrence Cherono, Kenya
Age: 29 | Marathon PB: 2:05:09
2017 Amsterdam Marathon champion

Tola Shura Kitata, Ethiopia
Age: 21 | Marathon PB: 2:05:50
2017 Frankfurt Marathon champion

Bedan Karoki, Kenya
Age: 27 | Marathon PB: 2:07:41
2017 RAK Half Marathon champion

Ghirmay Ghebreslassie, Eritrea
Age: 22 | Marathon PB: 2:07:46
2015 marathon world champion

Amanuel Mesel, Eritrea
Age: 27 | Marathon PB: 2:08:17

Mo Farah, Great Britain
Age: 34 | Marathon PB: 2:08:21
Double Olympic 10,000m & 5,000m champion; three-time 10,000m & 5,000m world champion

Alphonce Felix Simbu, Tanzania
Age: 25 | Marathon PB: 2:09:10
2017 World Championship Marathon third place

Fernando Cabada, USA
Age: 35 | Marathon PB: 2:11:36
2015 Chicago Marathon third place

Ihor Olefirenko, Ukraine
Age: 30 | Marathon PB: 2:12:04

Tsegai Tewelde, Great Britain
Age: 28 | Marathon PB: 2:12:23

Jonny Mellor, Great Britain
Age: 31 | Marathon PB: 2:12:57

Samuel Chelanga, USA
Age: 32 | Marathon PB: 2:15:02

Aaron Scott, Great Britain
Age: 28 | Marathon PB: 2:17:46

Taher Belkorchi, Morocco
Age: 22 | Marathon PB: Debut


For full start list, click here.