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Save the Date April 5th 2020

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Johnson looking for fast half marathon in Berlin

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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