On Sunday Florence Kiplagat posted a world half marathon record time for a second successive year at the eDreams Mitja Marato de Barcelona race. Here is our 13-point guide to the 13.1-mile magician's career.

1. Fulfilling destiny

Florence Kiplagat was born in the Marakwet District in Kenya's Rift Valley. It is a region renowned for producing many great athletes, including former world steeplechase record holder Moses Kiptanui and three-time world and two-time Olympic steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi. William Kiplagat, Florence’s uncle, is a former 2:06.50 marathoner.

2. Fatherly advice

Keen to gain a US scholarship, Kiplagat’s father encouraged her to start running as a means to achieve her dreams. She never secured the scholarship, but in her first serious year in the sport she qualified for the Kenyan team for the 2006 World Junior Championships in Beijing, winning the silver medal in the 5000m.

3. Mum’s the word

Kiplagat is an ex-partner to former Chicago Marathon winner Moses Mosop and in 2008 the pair had their first child together, Asha.

Florence Kiplagat ()

Kiplagat was one of 13 Kenyan medallists at the 2006 World Junior Championships

4. Family tragedy

In the week leading up to the Kenyan national cross country trials in 2009, Kiplagat’s brother died and she had to cut short her training.

“We buried my brother just three weeks before the national trials, but I said to myself that I had to be strong and travel for the competition,” she says. She summoned the strength and did her brother proud, going on to win the trial.

5. Major breakthrough

Five weeks after those trials she claimed her first major international success. She unleashed a fearsome burst on to the final hill to clinch victory from her compatriot Linet Masai to land the senior women’s race at the 2009 World Cross Country Championships in Amman, Jordan. In so doing, Kiplagat became the first Kenyan winner of the senior women’s race since Hellen Chepngeno in 1994.

6. Berlin battering

Later that year she revealed her track pedigree by posting a Kenyan 10,000m record of 30:11.53 in Utrecht – a mark that still stands today. Unfortunately, a hamstring injury hampered her chances of success at the 2009 Berlin World Championships and she wound up 12th in the 10,000m final. To date that has been her sole appearance at a global track championship.

Florence Kiplagat ()

Kiplagat is the only Kenyan woman to have won the Berlin marathon on more than one occasion

7. Road runner

Her knack for running the half-marathon first became apparent in 2010. She won her debut over the distance in 67:40 in Lille. Six weeks later she claimed victory in the World Half-Marathon Championships in Nanning, China, by ten seconds from Ethiopian Dire Tune.

8. Berlin bounceback

She DNF’d on her marathon debut in Boston in 2011. However, later that year Kiplagat showed her mettle over the 26.2-mile distance by defeating marathon icons Paula Radcliffe and Irina Mikitenko in Berlin in a speedy 2:19:44. That is a time that still ranks her 13th on the all-time lists.

9. Fourth frustration

Kiplagat suffered double agony in her desire to make the Kenyan team for London 2012. After finishing fourth in the London Marathon – in what was the de facto Kenya Olympic trial – she turned her attention to the 10,000m. However, at the Kenyan Trials she placed fourth again, a mere 0.72 behind third placed Sally Kipyego, who claimed silver in the British capital.

10. Champion again

She roared back to top marathon form in 2013 when she overcame a foot injury to regain her Berlin Marathon title in 2:21.13. Earlier in the year she had placed sixth in the London Marathon.


11. Record smasher

In Feburary last year, Kiplagat chopped 38 seconds off Mary Keitany’s world half-marathon record at the eDreams Mitja Marato de Barcelona. In a dazzling display over the 13.1-mile course, she completed the distance in 1:05:12 that saw her set a 20km world record en route.

12. Second best

Kiplagat made her versatility known throughout the rest of 2014. She claimed runner-up spots at both the Chicago and London Marathons and then hit the track to grab 10,000m silver at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

13. Triple crown

Twelve months after obliterating the world half-marathon record in the Catalan capital, Kiplagat returned to Barcelona to trim a further three seconds from her previous global best.

En route to her tenth victory in her 12 career half marathons, the 27-year-old also posted world records for the 15km (46:14) and 20km (1:01:54).

She becomes only the fourth woman in history to record back-to-back world half marathon records in the same race in successive years. US distance running legend Joan Benoit Samuelson achieved the feat in 1983 and ‘84 in Philadelphia, as did Germany’s Uta Pippig (Kyoto ‘94 and ‘95) and Elana Meyer of South Africa (Kyoto ‘97 and ‘98).