Jepchirchir says her main target is a second successive Olympics title although she is conscious it won’t be a walk in the park.

“I am confident although I know it is not easy…there is a strong field of competitors. There is us Kenyans and there are the Ethiopians but I believe and trust in myself,” the two-time world half marathon champion said.

Jepchirchir clocked 2:16:16 to storm to her first ever victory at the London Marathon, smashing the previous women-only record of 2:17:01 by fellow countrywoman Mary Keitany, set in 2017 on the same course.

In second place was Tigist Asefa of Ethiopia who clocked 2:16:23 as another Kenyan, former world marathon record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei came third in 2:16:24.

Jepchirchir, who finished third at last year’s London Marathon, said Sunday’s success was the perfect momentum she needs in the run-up to the quadrennial games in July-August.

“I was not expecting to win…I was not expecting to run that time. My prayer and hope was to run well because this was the last race before the selection for the Kenyan team (to the Olympics). I had to work extra hard so that I can get the chance to defend my title at the Olympics,” the 2021 New York Marathon champion said.

She was also elated to have clinched one more World Marathon Majors race, having come so close to doing so last year.

“I think last year was different from this year because it was raining and I was feeling so fatigued. Today I was feeling relaxed and energetic. When I get to 800 metres, it is always difficult to defeat me but last year they defeated me because of the rain and the fatigue,” she said.

The 2022 Boston Marathon champion is further hopeful her win will motivate many upcoming athletes who were watching her on Sunday.

“I think I have motivated them to trust in themselves and believe. Even I, I have believed in myself despite the challenges of injuries,” Jepchirchir said.

Other members of the provisional women’s marathon team for the Olympics, former world marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei and the 2019 world marathon champion Ruth Chepng’etich, finished fifth and ninth after timing 2:19:02 and 2:24:36 respectively

By Fred Azelwa.