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Kosgei happy to prove doubters wrong at Tokyo Marathon

World record holder says what kept her pushing on was the conviction that she would eventually overcome her woes and roar once again

In Summary

•Kosgei clocked 2:16:02 to set the fastest time set by a woman on Japanese soil

•She says says she will be taking time out from road races to focus on family and other issues

•Stanbic Bank CEO Mudiwa describes her as the poster girl for resilience and hard work

Brigid Kosgei crosses the line to win the women's elite race at the Tokyo Marathon on March 6
Brigid Kosgei crosses the line to win the women's elite race at the Tokyo Marathon on March 6
Image: REUTERS

World marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei, says she was never worried about doubters who said she would not return to her excellent form amidst struggles in the last two years. 

Kosgei said she had been struggling with injuries during the Covid-19 period, which prevented her from meeting her road race expectations. 

However, the newly-crowned Tokyo Marathon champion says what kept her pushing on was the conviction that she would eventually overcome her woes and roar once again. 

"I am very elated at what I managed to achieve in Tokyo. I always knew it is possible. Last year, I struggled with an injury even at the Tokyo Olympics where I finished second. I twisted my leg on a stone but soldiered on to finish second," the two-time Chicago Marathon champion said. 

She added: "Going into last year's London Marathon, I was struggling with a knee complication. There were some who were saying that my time at the top is done but I never listened to them. For me, I knew it was always possible to come back stronger."

Kosgei clocked 2:16:02 on a sunny Sunday in the Japanese capital to set the fastest time set by a woman on Japanese soil. 

It was a double delight for Kenya as the men's marathon world record holder, Eliud Kipchoge, also set a course record of 2:02:40 on his way to victory. 

Having proved her doubters wrong, Kosgei says she will be taking time out from road races to focus on family and other issues even as she eyes another stab at the World Marathon Majors, beginning October. 

"Now I just want to rest and recover even as I hope to run once again in October. I might participate in local races here and there but that will depend on consultations with my manager," the Tokyo Olympics marathon silver medalist said. 

Although she believes she can smash her own world record, Kosgei was careful not to put the cart before the horse. 

"That (smashing the world record) will depend on various factors, like staying injury-free. I don't want to say for sure if I will break it this year but I believe it is possible to lower it to 2:13 or even 2:12," Kosgei, who set a new record in 2:14:04 at the 2019 Chicago Marathon, said. 

She was speaking at Radisson Blu Hotel on Wednesday afternoon during a ceremony by Stanbic Bank to honour her for her feat in Tokyo. 

The bank's CEO Charles Mudiwa described Kosgei as the poster girl for resilience and hard work amid adversities. 

"Brigid has shown us that where you come from should never define you. It is about where you are going in life. Last year, during the Covid-19 pandemic, she stumbled a bit but recovered. I had bet that she would do great things in 2022 and I am glad she has proved me right," Mudiwa said. 

Similarly, Stanbic Bank's branch manager for Eldoret, Francis Muchangi, said Kosgei is an inspiration to many. 

"We have learnt so much from you. Brigid's close friend, Vincent Kibet, pushed me to reduce my potbelly by running 10km every day, and by now I have shed a lot of weight. Your humility and meekness are an inspiration. Every time you call me 'mkubwa', I am humbled," he said.