Olympic 5,000 metres champion Vivian Cheruiyot has announced that she will compete in Berlin Marathon on September 28 for the first time.
It will be her sixth career marathon race, having taken part in London Marathon thrice. Last year, she won in London with eighth fastest time in history of 2 hours, 18.31 minutes and finished fourth on debut in 2017 in 2:23:50. She came second this year in 2:20:14.
Cheruiyot won on her marathon debut in Frankfurt in 2017 in a time of 2:23:35, and came second in New York City in 2:26:02 in 2018.
However, Cheruiyot, who is also the 2011 World 10,000m and 5,000m champion, should prepare for a bruising battle with one of the finest fields headed for the German capital.
Defending champion Gladys Cherono, who has won in Berlin thrice in 2015, 2017 and 2018 is in the top field that Cheruiyot, the Olympic 10,000m silver medallist, will come face to face with.
Last year, Cherono, 35, retained her Berlin title in a course record time of 2:18:11, which happens to be the sixth fastest.
But the Kenyans will have to watch out for dangerous Ethiopian, Mare Dibaba, who has twice run under 2:20 and took the bronze medal in the 2016 Olympic Marathon in Rio.
“We are naturally delighted that we’ll be having Cherono on the start line,” Race Director Mark Milde said in a statement on the World Major Marathons website. “Compared to the men, the women in Berlin have some ground to make up for. With three very strong contenders in the line-up, the women’s race could be centre stage.”
The 36-year-old Cherono won the World Half Marathon title in 2014 and also broke the course record set by Japan’s Mizuki Noguchi of 2:19:12 which had stood for 13 years.
Cherono’s time of 2:18:11 was a big improvement on her lifetime best and helped her join the exclusive company of women champions in Berlin with three wins apiece: Renata Kokowska of Poland, the home town favourite Uta Pippig and Ethiopia’s Aberu Kebede.
“My goal is now to win for the fourth time in Berlin,” announced Cherono soon after she had completed the race last year. Her return is a clear bid to go for the unique honour of a fourth title.
This year in London, Cheruiyot finished runner-up, relegating Cherono to fourth place in 2:20:52 as another Kenyan, Brigid Kosgei, won in 2:18:20, the seventh fastest time in history.
The 29-year-old Dibaba actually has more marathon experience than either Cherono or Cheruiyot. She won the world title in Beijing in 2015 and one year later took the bronze medal at the Rio Olympics.
She has a best of 2:19:52, achieving that time twice, in 2012 and 2015. Given Berlin’s renowned fast course, Dibaba will be aiming to run another very fast time and challenge the Kenyan duo.