Make way, the ‘pocket rocket’ is launching!

Thursday November 2 2017

Vivian Cheruiyot from Kenya finishes the Marathon as fastest woman in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany on October 29, 2017. PHOTO | THOMAS FREY |

Vivian Cheruiyot from Kenya finishes the Marathon as fastest woman in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany on October 29, 2017. PHOTO | THOMAS FREY |  AFP

By BARNABAS KORIR
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Finally the “Pocket Rocket” hit Frankfurt and ran away with victory on her second attempt in the marathon.

Yes, I am talking about our very own, pint-sized Vivian Cheruiyot, who won the Frankfurt race in a personal best time of 2:23:35 last weekend.

Vivian dominated the race from the start, going through halfway in 1:10:07, more than two minutes ahead of her rivals, before ultimately improving her personal best by 15 seconds.

For much of the race, she was on target to break the course record of 2:21:01, reaching the 30km in 1:40:14, but strong winds in the latter stages slowed her pace.

Yebrgual Melese finished second in 2:24:30 with fellow Ethiopian Meskerem Assefa third in 2:24:38.

It was obvious that Vivian wanted to start with a bang by at least setting the course record but this was not possible, owing to the headwinds.

“Winning here has boosted my confidence. It was very windy. My body is small and running was hard. I had to knuckle down and thought I could run 2:20. But I am happy with my time. I’m still new to the marathon and can improve,” she was quoted as saying.

NEXT BIG THING

Truth be told. Just like Eliud Kipchoge, Vivian could be the next big thing in the women’s marathon if her record is anything to go by.

Vivian is a born winner, and for the one and a half decades that she has been around, her name has always been associated with the podium.

Judging from her two opening marathons, things are not about to change and those in road races better brace up for not only the “hurricane” but also tough times ahead.

What she has done in her two opening races was just to test the ground.

Her next race, probably in April, will be the determiner of where she wants to take her career in marathon.

But knowing who she is, Vivian always goes for the kill once she has set her mind on the target. I dare say that even Paula Radcliffe’s women’s marathon record of 2:15:25 is not safe and could be shattered in under the next one year.

All Vivian needed was the confidence that she is up to the challenge and the rest can be left to her.

Having been Vivian’s fan since winning her first gold medal in junior category at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Vilamaoura, Portugal, in 2000, I can’t wait to see what she has up her sleeves!

Korir, Athletics Kenya’s Nairobi branch chairman, is also head of Kenya’s team to the 2018 Commonwealth Games: [email protected]