Kenya’s Tegla Loroupe is aiming to follow what has already been an exceptional year on the track and road with an attempt at an unprecedented third back-to-back victory in the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships.
Just one week after her new World Best Performance of 2:20:43 seconds in the Marathon, set on 26 September in Berlin, she will be lining up at the start on Palermo’s Foro Italico for the eighth edition of the World Championships.
Loroupe has already created a stir this season, setting Kenyan records in the 3000m - in Monte Carlo (8:33.36) - and 10,000m - with her bronze medal in the IAAF World Championships, where her time of 30:32.03 knocked 43 secs off the previous national mark.
Tegla Loroupe’s versatility is outstanding. "I am running the shorter races for speed work," she said earlier in the season. "They are part of my training schedule, which averages around 200+ kilometres a week in the build-up to the marathon season."
After winning a half marathon in Rotterdam in 1:09:20, a week before her record run in Berlin, Loroupe was asked whether it had been hard: "Not really, I had 10 repeats of 2000m with 20 second breaks between them, in my training schedule for the day and this was a lot easier."
Was she tired after Berlin? We asked her the next morning.
"I feel like I have done a two hour training session. I had a little pain in my left leg during the race, but when I get back to Detmold (her training base in Germany) this evening, I will have a good massage and I think it will be OK.
"I am not really tired at all, but then again, I only stayed for an hour at the disco last night. I was eating a lot because I was really hungry after the race. That is what I am going to concentrate on for the next few days: eating and just doing some light exercise.
"I will just run half an hour or so each day, mainly on grass and do some exercises on Wednesday. Thursday I will rest and then Friday and Saturday do again half an hour or so of light running."
Confident about the Half Marathon?
"Well, we will see. I just had a call from Paul Tergat to congratulate me on my new record here in Berlin and he said that I would do really well in Palermo (where Tergat is also competing in the men’s race). I hope that he is right.
"If everything is OK, the week after Palermo I will run in the Great North Run (another half marathon) in the North of England. Is it too much? Not really, it is just like training."