22nd Berliner Wasserbetriebe 5 x 5 km TEAM-Relay from 7 until 9 June 2023

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Johnson looking for fast half marathon in Berlin


Benita Johnson
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Australian record holder Benita Johnson on Sunday plans sending out a final warning to her rivals that she is in the best shape of her life before contesting the Flora London Marathon. The former world cross country champion believes the Vattenfall Berlin half marathon, will offer her the ideal opportunity to put the final touches to her preparations, before London in three weeks time. Johnson over the very quick course, believes the presence of last year's winner Edith Masai of Kenya, will be the ideal test she needs before chasing her major target of the year. Masai the four times world cross country short course champion, with the world's fastest time of the year, scored a stellar win 12 months ago ahead of Olympic marathon bronze medallist Deena Kastor.

Johnson 28, said: "Everything I've done in the last few month's has been totally focused towards and London and I'm in the best shape of my life. Berlin offers the ideal chance to have one tough final race and I must admit given how good my training has been, I'm expecting to run really well. I'm not thinking of what time I will be running, it's a fast course and obviously my major target is winning - Masai will make it very tough, but I want a hard race. But London is what all of the next few weeks are about," said Johnson who flew into the capital a week ago to finalise her build-up to the world's greatest marathon race.

The intensity of her training schedule has convinced Johnson that she is in good enough shape to smash the landmark two hours 20minutes barrier, conquered in the past by only nine women. Johnson isn't hiding behind a smoke screen, genuinely believing that achievement must be her realistic target if wanting to lift the prestigious crown. She said: "I'm capable of running better than 2hrs 20min - I've learned a lot about the marathon even though I'm still a little bit on the young side. Primarily my body has learned in the last year to handle the distance work and my legs in particular are a lot stronger."

The withdrawal of Japan's injured Olympic champion Mizuki Noguchi scheduled to have made her London debut and the absence of the USA's Kastor winner last April, will not detract from the standard of the world class field. "There's 10 top quality women, all of us in with a chance of winning this year - I may be still be a little inexperienced but believe I have as good a chance as anyone else." insisted Johnson.

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