Keitany relishes rivalry for Rio Olympics Marathon

Iten (Kenya), Jan 4 (IANS) With one race in London in April, New York Marathon champion Mary Keitany is relishing the challenge of contesting for a medal at the Rio Olympics in August.

Keitany finished fourth at the London Olympics, her last race before she took a two-year sabbatical to deliver her second child. She has returned stronger, winning in New York and settling for silver at the London Marathon, reports Xinhua.

The two performances have reinforced her belief that she can finally strike gold at the Olympics in Rio.

“It is the biggest medal in sports and I am at my prime and it will be the biggest achievement for me if I win in Rio. But the test will be tough because everyone plans to do well and win a medal for her country,” Keitany said here on Sunday.

In November in New York, Keitany clocked 2:24:25, more than a minute clear of her closest pursuer. She then immediately turned her focus on the great, shiny target which now looms on the horizon in Rio.

“To win the Olympics, or to get a medal, would mean a lot. I’ll go home now, get rest, maybe wait for the team to be selected, but I’m ready to go and try to get a medal in Rio,” she said.

Though Keitany may play up the role of fortune, there was nothing accidental about the manner in which she earned her second title in New York, which was her fourth victory in a Marathon Major. The 33-year-old’s performance was a combination of natural talent, years of hard graft, and a racing wisdom gained through experience.

While Keitany was exceptional at the half marathon, her inevitable transition to the marathon was pockmarked by that well-known parent of success — failure.

“Marathon takes time to learn,” said Keitany, whose last defeat at the half marathon came in 2007. “You learn by making mistakes and adjusting, how to put yourself at a comfortable pace and not always just pushing, pushing, which means you pay the price at the end.”

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