Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei, the marathon world-record holder and reigning Virgin Money London Marathon champion, and her compatriot, world champion Ruth Chepngetich, took part in a socially distanced press conference at the elite athlete hotel today (Thursday 1 October), in the build-up to what promises to be a superb women’s elite contest on Sunday 4 October.

Brigid Kosgei (Kenya)

On how she feels about being back in London as champion:

“I really like London because [the traditional race route] is a good course and the crowd will cheer you even if you’re last. I hope I will do my best so that I can be invited again next year.”

On how well she and Ruth Chepngetich know each other:

“We’ve not trained together. We’re in different places and a different camp, so we only see each other in London.”

On the looped London Marathon course:

“For me, it will be difficult to run in a loop because I’ve never run in a loop. I’ll try my best on Sunday.”

On how much her training has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic:

“During the pandemic, most of us went to settle with our families, our children.

“For two months now, I’ve been training with a little group. But for several months, I was training alone. It has affected most of us in Kenya.”

On her message to Kenyan runners in the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi on Saturday:

“I want to tell them to try their best. It’s good for everyone to see whether they have trained well.”

On whether she can beat her own world record on Sunday:

“Due to this pandemic, I cannot say I’ll run this way or that way, because coronavirus means we did not do enough training, like last year. So I want to try my best only on Sunday.

“Because we couldn’t get a training group together like last year it’s not like it was before Chicago, but we will try.”

On how life has changed for her since her world record:

“When I broke the record in Chicago, I was feeling very happy and it changed my career and made me more encouraged to do a lot of training and focus so that I could try to break that record again.”

On whether she hopes Sunday’s race will help her seal her place in the rearranged Tokyo Games:

“I’ll try my best in order to be selected for the Olympics next year.”

On her frustration at hearing stories of Kenyan athletes failing drugs tests:

“Yes, it is very bad. It’s just sad news; it’s not good.”

On what she feels about the benefits of running shoe technology:

“The shoes cannot run – it’s the person who runs.

“It’s just me who can run. If your body’s not there, you cannot run good. So, for me, it’s my body, not the shoes.”

On how she would advise the 45,000 ‘virtual runners’ on Sunday:

“You must be disciplined and be working hard. If you don’t work hard, nothing can come easy. So be serious in everything you can do.”

On what Paula Radcliffe told her when she beat the Briton’s world record:

“I speak with her and she said, ‘well done’. But I think maybe she wasn’t happy because her record was gone.”

On her training in the build-up to the race:

“At Kapsait [Kosgei’s training camp], I train just 180, 190km a week. The altitude is up to 3,000 metres, sometimes 3,200 above sea level.”

On the lack of spectators on the route:

“We must be socially distanced so that we do not get hit by that virus. We must keep a distance.”

On her narrow defeat to Sifan Hassan in the Brussels Diamond League one-hour record attempt when she was disqualified for taking half a step on the in-field during the race:

“I tried my best in Brussels, but I just went there to look for speed only [even though she broke the previous one-hour record]. I didn’t realise I would be disqualified.”

On pursuing her career in training camps while being a mother of young twins:

“It’s difficult because sometimes I just call them through phones so that they won’t miss me, because when I move away [for training] for just one week, they miss me a lot. I just want to get with them to make them happy; sometimes I miss them. They are proud of me.

“Maybe they will be runners in the future. They’re still young. Maybe after they finish their education, maybe they could aspire to be a runner like me.”

Ruth Chepngetich (Kenya)

On how her preparations have gone for the race:

“I’m happy and I’m happy to be in London. I’m ready to compete on Sunday. I’ve trained well, I’m feeling good and I’m ready for the run on Sunday, to try my best.”

On how her training has been affected by the pandemic:

“When this coronavirus came to Kenya, our training was hindered and everyone trained in isolation.”

On what she has been doing in the biosecure bubble:

“I’ve been reading and listening to some music most of the time when I’m free.”

On whether she will be using the London Marathon to cement her place in Kenya’s Olympic team:

“I will try to show on Sunday that I’m one of the strongest Kenyans.”

On what shoes she will be wearing on Sunday:

“I will be wearing Nike Next% shoes; they’re the best shoes I like. The shoe is comfortable.”

On her hopes for the virtual runners who are attempting their first marathon:

“Let them be focused and determined.”

On her training load:

“In a week, I’m running about 160 to 170km.”

On the lack of crowds:

“It will not change things too much because people will be cheering us on TV, including my family. We will all be there in spirit.”