NAIROBI, April 6 – Despite withdrawing from this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon due to leg injury, reigning Berlin champion Gladys Cherono believes she will be fit and available for 2016 Olympic Games selection.
Cherono, one of the world’s fastest women marathon runners, told Capital Sport she picked the injury while training and did not want to risk participation in the upcoming London Marathon despite being one of the favourites for this year’s race slatted for April 24.
“I hurt my leg while training for the London Marathon so I will not compete at this year’s race. It’s disappointing since I was looking forward to race but I couldn’t gamble and go on to run since I may aggravate it. I wish my fellow Kenyans all the best and I’m sure the title will come back to our country after missing it last year,” Cherono, the 2013 world silver medalist in the women’s 10,000m affirmed.
“My focus is on Olympics and my prayer is that I make the team. I will continue with training to ensure I recover and be fit before the team for the Olympics is selected,” the 32-year-old added.
Cherono ran the quickest marathon in the world last year when she won September’s Berlin Marathon in 2:19:25 and remains hopeful to continue building her name in marathons since making her debut in 2015 in Dubai where she finished second.
“I’m concentrating fully in marathons now that I was done with competing on track. My hope is to become one of the best marathoners in the world,” the 2014 World Half Marathon champion said.
Cherono’s absence leaves her training partner Mary Keitany to lead the Kenyan challenge along with World Half Marathon record holder Florence Kiplagat, New York City Marathon champion Jemima Sumgong and former London Marathon champion Priscah Jeptoo.
Keitany, the second fastest woman of all time, is seeking a third London Marathon victory and revenge over Ethiopia’s Tigist Tufa, who beat her to the title 12 months ago.
Tufa will defend her crown alongside fellow Ethiopians Aselefech Mergia, the 2010 London champion, Mare Dibaba, who won the World Championship gold medal in Beijing last summer, and former Paris Marathon champion Feyse Tadese.
Cherono’s pulling out comes a day after another Kenyan, Geoffrey Mutai, opted out of this year’s Boston Marathon that runs April 18.
According to the Boston Athletic Association, the 2011 champion withdrew after failing to meet his training goals.
The 34-year-old was slated to make his return to Boston since winning in a course record of 2:03:02 five years ago, which was the fastest marathon in history at the time.