Virgin Money London Marathon’s elite field coordinator David Bedford chats to Tim Hutchings about the women’s field for the 2015 London Marathon and predicts the greatest women’s marathon ever as Kenya’s ‘fantastic four’ take on Aselefech Mergia of Ethiopia.
“This is the best women’s field ever,” says Bedford. “Edna Kiplagat had her first win last year, and two years running before that she was in second place. She’s a two-times world champion and if it’s a slow race I think her class will out.
“But I can’t see it being a slow race with Mary Keitany in the field. She won in 2011 and 2012 and she’s the reigning New York champion. She took a year out to have a baby and came back stronger than ever. She can fly so it’s not going to be easy.
“Priscah Jeptoo’s a classy act. If she’s there with three miles to go you’ve got to give her a good chance of winning.
“Florence Kiplagat is in there too, the world half marathon record holder. She’s run a couple of decent marathons but can she go the distance? I think she can and maybe this is the time it will happen.”
Florence Kiplagat set a new half marathon record of 65:09 in Barcelona earlier this year. Asked if she could challenge Paula Radcliffe’s long-standing world record of 2:15:25 over the 26.2-mile distance, Bedford said: “I don’t know if she could run 2:15. Her half marathon would suggest there’s a chance of it in good conditions but she’s more likely to be a 2:17 athlete.
“Remember, Paula’s time was set in a mixed race with male pacemakers. This is a women’s only competition so it’s better to look at Paula’s women’s only record of 2:17:42 as being the mark for them to beat.
The Virgin Money London Marathon takes place on Sunday April 26, 2015.