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Mary Keitany announces world record attempt in London

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Friday 26th January 2018
Mary Keitany has announced that she will attempt to break Paula Radcliffe’s world record at the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon. 
Paula’s record stands at 2 hours 15 minutes and 25 seconds and it has stood since 2003. It was set at that year’s London Marathon and it was set in a mixed race, before the ruling that world records could only be set in a women-only race. 
Keitany has announced that she will use male pacemakers in her attempt, so if she does break the record - and it’s a big if - it will stand as the new ‘mixed record’, not the official women’s world record. Keitany actually already holds this record, having run 2:17:01 in last year’s Virgin Money London Marathon, which beat Paula’s best women-only record of 2:17:42. 
So if anybody has the credentials to do it, it’s Keitany. 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 the required pace. Which is an average of 5:10 per mile by the way. 
Keitany has commented on the attempt on the record: “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.”
But Keitany certainly won’t have it easy. As well as a battle against the clock, she will also be competing with her great Ethiopian rival Tirunesh Dibaba and the 2017 marathon world champion Rose Chelimo, it was announced this week. 

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