Kenya's world record holder Brigid Kosgei will seek to underline her Olympic ambitions in Sunday's London Marathon ©Getty Images

Kenya’s world record holder Brigid Kosgei will use Sunday’s (October 4) Virgin Money London Marathon race to try and confirm her place at next summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, if the events goes ahead as planned.

Speaking today at an online London Marathon press conference, sitting alongside Kenyan rival and world champion Ruth Chepngetich, Kosgei - who set the world record of 2 hours 14min 04sec at last October’s Chicago Marathon - confirmed that Tokyo 2020 was in her plans.

"I will try my best in order to be selected for the Olympics next year," she said, although she played down any suggestion that she would be seeking to run world record pace - in a race that, unlike that in Chicago, contains women only.

The main reason was the impact the pandemic had had upon her training this year.

"Because I could not get a group like last year, when we just pushed each other, it’s not like it was before Chicago," said Kosgei, who is seeking a hat-trick of London titles.

"But I will try.

"Due to this pandemic I could not say I could run this and this.

"Because of this coronavirus we didn’t do a lot of training enough like last year.

"So I want to try my best only on Sunday."

The women-only world record of 2:17:01 was set by Kosgei’s compatriot Mary Keitany at the 2017 London Marathon.

Kosgei’s last competitive outing came in the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Brussels on September 4, where she sought to break the one-hour record on the track,

Speaking on the eve of that effort, she said: "My training has been changed because of the pandemic.

"Since lockdown I ran only with my pacemaker, and sometimes me alone.

"I did my best there in Kenya.

"It was not like earlier on where we were with my friends and training partners.

"We were in the training camp in January and February.

"Then we had the coronavirus pandemic and we just left the camp.

"I went to my home to stay with my kids up to two months ago.

"I started to train because I have my London Marathon title to defend.

"When I was in Kenya I was just doing speedwork in the field.

"But I hope to do good tomorrow because I have prepared well.

"Now I say let me try a half marathon and for tomorrow I want to try my best to look how my body will be in the London Marathon."

The one-hour record was eventually secured by Sifan Hassan of The Netherlands but, in what was an epic race between the two, Kosgei also bettered the old mark before being disqualified for stepping once onto the infield in the closing stages.

"When I went to Brussels I wanted to try to see if I can do track and field, and I tried my best," Kosgei said today.

"I took one step over the line – I didn’t know that if you do one step over the line you will be disqualified."

Ruth Chepngetich is expected to be among the contenders in the elite women's race at the London Marathon ©Getty Images
Ruth Chepngetich is expected to be among the contenders in the elite women's race at the London Marathon ©Getty Images

Chepngetich, who also wants to underline her claim to an Olympic place through Sunday’s performance, trains in the hills near Nairobi and also reflected on a disrupted preparation.

"We were very disappointed because our training was hindered," she said.

"We didn’t know how we were to improve - everyone was training in isolation."

Chepngetic estimated her recent weekly mileage more recently had been "around 160 to 170 kilometres".

Kosgei said in that period she had been running "between 180 and 190" kilometres a week.

What may play in favour of the world champion is that the 1.3 miles closed loop on which the elite races will take place was similar to the looped course on which she won her world title on Doha’s Corniche last year.

Asked if Sunday's course would suit her, she responded: "Yes, it will be possible."

Kosgei, however, took a different view.

"For me," she said, "I think it will be difficult to run in a loop because I have never run in a loop before."

Asked how her life had changed since breaking the world record in Chicago last year she replied: "I was feeling very happy and it changed my training career and made me more encouraged to do a lot of training and to focus on training so I could try and break that record again."

She recalled the conversation she had at the finish line with the Briton whose 16-year-old record of 2:15:25 she had broken, Paula Radcliffe.

"I spoke with her at the line and she said, 'Well done' but I think she was not happy because her record was gone," she said.