Kenya’s Gladys Cherono won’t defend her World Half Marathon title on March 26 this year in Cardiff, Wales.
Instead, Cherono has opted to prepare for her debut appearances at the London Marathon on April 24 and the Olympic Games in August.
“I want to give London Marathon a shot hoping that I will be selected for the Rio Olympics,” said Cherono, who won the World Half Marathon in a season’s best time of 1:07.29 in 2013 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Cherono led fellow Kenyans in sweep of the top five places to win the team title. Mary Wacera settled second in 1:07:44 followed by Selly Chepyego (1:07:52), Lucy Kabuu (1:08:37) and Mercy Jerotich (1:08:42).
“I want to give the rest a chance at the World Half Marathon where I believe Kenya has the capacity to retain both the individual and team titles,” said Cherono, who resumed her training in November in Eldoret and Nyahururu.
“My dream is to feature at the Olympics this year and I have faith I will get the nod,” said Cherono, the 2012 Africa 10,000m.”
Cherono won silver for Kenya at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow in 10,000m.
Cherono had a good marathon debut season last year, coming second behind Ethiopia’s Aselefech Mergia in a thrilling finish at Dubai Marathon in February.
She won the Istanbul Half Marathon in April in a personal best of 1:06:38 to set the stage for her maiden marathon victory in September in Berlin, returning personal best personal best 2:19:25. It is the best ever average by a newcomer over the distance in a season.
“It will be good to improve my marathon personal best but I am not really focusing on that at the moment,” said Cherono, who will kick start her season at the Kenya Defence Forces Cross Country Championships on January 22 in Thika. Cherono won the KDF Cross Country title in 2013.
Already, Geoffrey Kamworor, who was one of the most consistent athlete last season, winning the World Cross Country title and World 10,000m silver medal in China, has expressed his interest to defend his World Half Marathon title.
Even though Kenyan women have won the World marathon titles four times through Catherine Ndereba in 2003 Saint-Denis and 2007 Osaka and Edna Kiplagat in 2011 Berlin and 2013 Moscow, they are yet to claim an Olympic title. They have only won silver medals with Nderaba in 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing and Prisca Jeptoo in 2012 London.