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Monday, 19 May 2014 19:48

A “titanic clash” on tap in San Diego

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Boston Marathon winner Rita Jeptoo goes head-to-head with London Marathon winner Edna Kiplagat at the San Diego Half-Marathon next month - The Suja Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Half-Marathon will feature a mouthwatering head-to-head match-up pitting this year’s Boston Marathon champion Rita Jeptoo against reigning London Marathon champion Edna Kiplagat on 1 June.

“Never in the history of running in San Diego has there been such a titanic clash of current major champions – men or women – and this race certainly continues the rich tradition of world class running at the original Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series event,” said Tracy Sundlun, co-founder of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series.

“The women’s elite field reflects our continued commitment to showcasing the world’s top professional runners in premier races.”

After three runner-up finishes in succession, Kiplagat finally claimed the title in London this year in 2:20:21 and the two-time world champion is looking forward to defending her half-marathon title in San Diego.

“I’m very happy to be coming back to San Diego to defend my title. Last year's race was the perfect tune up for me before I went to the World Championships in Moscow,” said Kiplagat, who won last year in 68:56, before going on to retain her world marathon crown in the Russian capital. 

“This year I will be arriving fresh from my London Marathon win and I'm looking forward to the challenge. This will be my eleventh Competitor Group event since 2003, four of which I have won. Rock ‘n’ Roll events have always brought out the best in me.”

Kiplagat will almost certainly need to bring her A-game, as Jeptoo comes fresh from an astonishing third win in the Boston Marathon where she shattered the course record with her winning time of 2:18:57, covering the closing stages in under world record pace.

“I’m excited to be part of the Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego event this year. After my race in Boston it's a great way for me to focus and get back into my training,” said Jeptoo, whose half-marathon lifetime best of 66:27 is superior to Kiplagat's corresponding mark of 67:41.

“Racing Edna is always tough. She won here last year and will be hoping to beat me before we take each other on for the World Marathon Majors title later in the year,” added Jeptoo, who leads the 2013/14 leaderboard with 75 points to Kiplagat's 65 points.

The Ethiopians shouldn't be ruled out completely, as their athletes have been in good marathon form this year as well. Birhane Dibaba, 20, finished second in the Tokyo Marathon in a lifetime best of 2:22:30, while her experienced compatriot Amane Gobena arrives off the back of a spring marathon win in Los Angeles in 2:27:37.

Jeptoo and Kiplagat will host an expo clinic on the Friday afternoon, and Jeptoo will also be making an appearance at the expo on Saturday alongside fellow Boston Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi. Meb will pace the 1:30 half-marathon group as part of his first race appearance since becoming the first American man to win Boston since 1983.

With help from organisers for worldrunning.com

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