Athletics: Chepkemei determined to force pace on Radcliffe

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The Independent Online

Susan Chepkemei, whom many regard as the most likely runner to frustrate Paula Radcliffe's ambition of winning a third Flora London Marathon title on Sunday, believes she will benefit from the lessons she learned in her narrow defeat by the Briton at last November's race in New York.

Susan Chepkemei, whom many regard as the most likely runner to frustrate Paula Radcliffe's ambition of winning a third Flora London Marathon title on Sunday, believes she will benefit from the lessons she learned in her narrow defeat by the Briton at last November's race in New York.

The 29-year-old Kenyan, formerly world record holder in the half marathon, admitted yesterday that she felt she had made some mistakes in the final stages of that race, in which she was outsprinted by Radcliffe over the final 200 metres in Central Park, having shadowed her over the final six miles.

"I think I should not have stayed behind - I couldn't concentrate. I should have run shoulder-to-shoulder," said Chepkemei, who will seek to stay even closer to Radcliffe this weekend. "I knew I could come close to Paula but I could have run the race better than I did there.

"Paula was strong at the beginning of the race but she didn't run away from the group. If it is possible I want to try to get away from her. I'd like to run a good time and break my best time and that's what I'm going to try."

But if Chepkemei does intend keeping in touch with Radcliffe from the start, she will have to run the first half race a little quicker than the 69 minutes target she has set herself. Radcliffe has asked for her pacemakers, Restituta Joseph and Leah Malot, to cover the first 13.1 miles in a time 30 seconds faster than Chepkemei feels she can comfortably cope with.

Chepkemei, a former Rotterdam champion who has also finished second in Berlin, will nevertheless travel in hope. "I'm confident for myself and I believe one day I will win a marathon - and I hope it will be on Sunday," she added.

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