NAIROBI, Kenya, January 14 – World Half Marathon champion Gladys Cherono will make her marathon debut in this year’s Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on January 23.
Her debut at the classic 42.195km classic distance has been eagerly anticipated not only because of her World Championship win over the half marathon distance in March 2014 in Copenhagen but also because her performances on both track and road over the past years have been world-class.
Cherono, a 31-year-old, Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) star – who holds a 10,000m personal best of 30:29.23, will at last make her marathon maiden appearance after an injury in the build-up forced her to withdraw from last year’s Berlin event.
And as the first woman to take gold medals at both 5,000m and 10,000 in the African Championships in 2012, the eyes of the athletics world will be on her as she takes on a field of experienced marathon campaigners over one of the world’s quickest courses.
Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council, the 2015 event will see one of the strongest fields ever seen at the world’s richest marathon.
For Cherono who hopes to reclaim the KDF Cross-country Championships title on Friday, it is the perfect opportunity to stamp her name on the marathon after many years of success at the shorter distances.
In 2013, she became the tenth fastest half marathon runner of all time when she set a personal best of 1:06:48 at the Prague Half Marathon, while in the same year she also claimed silver in Moscow at the 10,000m World Championships.
“The women’s line-up is incredibly strong this year. Everywhere you look there are quality runners and in Cherono we have an athlete who continues to make great progress in distance running,” said Event Director Peter Connerton.
“It is a great bonus for the event to have her make the set up to the marathon distance here in Dubai and in such a powerful field.”
With less than two weeks to go, marathon staff are already at work on the start and finish area outside the Dubai Police Academy as grandstands go into place ready to welcome the more than 25,000 runners who are expected to gather for the marathon, the 10km Road Race and the 4k Fun Run.
Among the stars set to line-up are three-time Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele, 2013 men’s winner Lelisa Desisa, 2011 and 2012 women’s winner Aselefech Mergia and defending women’s champion Mulu Seboka.