Vivian Cheruiyot has set her sights on a personal best as the Kenyan prepares to defend her London Marathon title on Sunday (April 28).
The reigning Olympic 5,000 metres champion has enjoyed a successful start to her marathon career.
Cheruiyot triumphed in London last year by clocking 2 hours, 18 mins and 31 sec, before finishing runner-up to compatriot Mary Keitany at the New York City Marathon.
The 35-year-old’s time at last year’s race is her personal best, which she hopes to lower when contesting her fifth race over the distance.
Cheruiyot also expects Keitany and fellow Kenyans Gladys Cherono and Brigid Kosgei to challenge for the title.
“I ran a personal best for the half marathon in Lisbon so I know I am in better shape than last year,” Cheruiyot said.
“I’m learning a lot in the marathon now.
“This is my fifth marathon and I’m really enjoying the training.
“When I decided to go to the marathon, I decided to go the whole way – I can’t go back to 10,000m and 5,000m.
“All of us in the race on Sunday are strong – Gladys Cherono, Brigid Kosgei and Linet Masai – but I’m running as Vivian, I’m running my own race.
“My shape is better than last year and if the weather is good, I know I’m going to run my personal best.
“I’ll be happy if I do maybe 2:17, something like that, that’s what I’m aiming for.”
Keitany will hope to join Norwegian legend Ingrid Kristiansen as a record four-time winner of the race should she triumph.
The Kenyan emerged victorious in 2011 and 2012, before setting the women-only world record of 2:17:01 when taking her third title in 2017.
Victory would also see her match her four wins at the New York City Marathon.
Cherono, a triple Berlin Marathon champion, will seek an improvement on her first appearance last year.
The 35-year-old missed out on a podium finish having crossed the line in fourth.
Kosgei will come into the race on a high having triumphed at the Chicago Marathon in October.
She will hope for a repeat at the London Marathon, the 25-year-old having finished runner-up to Cheruiyot in 2018.