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Brigid Kosgei was inspired to get into athletics when late for school.
Living with her single mother and six siblings 10 kilometres away, she would often run to avoid missing her first class. As she did so, she would occasionally pass by groups of professional athletes.
It led to a simple decision to try her hand at distance running. It turned out she had a natural aptitude but it is her past which still drives her.
“We were a very poor and humble family and we struggled for everything so I am not going back to that life,” she said. “This is what pushed me to train and race well.”
It has pushed her to become the world-record holder for the marathon as well as achieving dominance akin to that of Eliud Kipchoge.
She has won eight of the 12 city marathons she has entered and is bidding for a hat-trick on the return to the more regular London Marathon course from the St James’ Park route of a year ago.
There will be question marks about whether the world record could be lowered further still this year, and that is surely beyond her having competed in a marathon just eight weeks ago at the Tokyo Olympics.
On that occasion, Peres Jepchirchir caused an upset to take gold as Kosgei suffered a rare defeat and had to make do with the silver.
Despite having 26.2 miles in her legs so recently, mother-of-two Kosgei will still begin as the event favourite.
Arguably the toughest challenge comes from Joyciline Jepkosgei, who unlike her fellow Kenyan, was not on the Olympic team so arrives in the capital with the fresher legs.
But Jepkosgei is a London debutant and has run the distance just twice before, although won one (New York) and finished second in the other (Valencia).
As for Kosgei, the aim is that the race will play out as it has for her in the past. She said: “It is a great feeling to be coming back as London is one of my favourite marathons. Last year’s win was very special particularly given what the world was going through.”