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Kenyan, Florence Kiplagat, was once one of the all-time great distance runners, before the super shoe era. She was a top performer from 5000m to the marathon during the mid-2000s.

She set bests of 14:40.14 in the 5000m, 30:11.53 for 10,000m and 2:19:44 in the marathon between 2009 and 2011.

Kiplagat is a two-time Berlin Marathon champion and former half-marathon world record holder with her 65:09 performance from Barcelona in 2015. Kiplagat has range and versatility. She is also a two-time Chicago Marathon winner in 2015 and 2016 and World Cross Country champion from the 2009 running. She continues to hold the 15K world record at 46:15 from 2015.

Off for long periods due to illness and injury, she is back at age 36, to race in July in what she hopes will be a new course record in the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia. Kiplagat hopes to better American Lindsay Flanagan’s course record which is 2:24:43 — her personal best from July last year.

Kiplagat told the Star publication of Nairobi, “It has been long since I competed and my return into action after four years in the cold is a sign that God loves me. I want my return to be better than before.”

Apparently, she had three incidents that kept her from running. First, an undisclosed injury that wouldn’t go away, followed by the coronavirus then a “sickness.” Perhaps it was “long Covid.” She is also a mother of two. 

Originally, set to race the Stockholm Marathon, Kiplagat chose the Gold Coast event instead. It is unlikely that she would choose to travel abroad to race if she didn’t feel that her fitness warranted the effort. Expect a strong performance from this once mighty distance running champion.

In 2022, Japan’s Jo Fukuda won the men’s race in the time of 2:10:55. In 13th place overall, and the first female, Flanagan ran to her new best time. She finished 1:12 in front of Australian Lisa Weightman and finishing in third position was Shiho Kaneshige in 2:29:12.

The race takes place on Sunday, July 2.