Kenyan marathon runner Viola Cheptoo Lagat says she will be driven by the desire to win for murdered compatriot Agnes Tirop during Sunday’s New York Marathon.
Lagat finished behind Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir on her marathon debut in the American city last year before dedicating her silver medal to Tirop, who was found dead at her house three weeks prior to the event.
But the 33-year-old is determined to go one better at this year’s famed five-borough race as she aims to honour Tirop.
“I’m going to work hard to win for her this time,” Lagat told BBC Sport Africa.
“My mind is in a good place and I’ve got really good training in this time around. I feel stronger and I know the field is also strong, but I know the spirit of Agnes is still going to fight with me like last time.
“I don’t want to let anyone down, especially the spirit of Agnes that has fought with us from the beginning.
“It’s going to be a tough field, but I’m going in feeling strong and I hope most of my hard work in the last few months is going to take me through.”
Lagat clocked two hours 22 minutes and 44 seconds in New York last November – which remains her personal best marathon time – crossing the line five seconds behind winner Jepchirchir.
She was one minute and three seconds slower as she finished sixth in the Boston Marathon in April this year, but is expecting another fast race in the ‘Big Apple’ this weekend.
Tirop finished fourth in the 5,000m at the Tokyo Olympics in August last year and Lagat was with her a few weeks later when she smashed the women’s-only 10km world record in Germany, crossing the line in 30 minutes and one second.