NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 24 – Gladys Cherono stormed to her second women’s Berlin Marathon title after winning the 2017 women’s edition in 2:20:21ahead of Ethiopian Ruti Aga on Sunday.
The women’s race may not have attracted as much of the pre-race attention, but it ended up being more of a three-way contest than the men’s race.
Cherono, the 2015 Berlin winner, was back in the German capital having battled with injury for much of the past 12 months but the Kenyan was up against some notable rising road-running stars.
“That was tough,” said Cherono, the 2014 world half-marathon champion. “I went with the pace maker until 30 kilometres. When they dropped out, I tried to push the pace along.
“I was out of competition for a long time, but I’m happy to be back again,” added the 2013 world 10,000m silver medallist. “Had it not been for these conditions, I could have broken my PB but I’m happy with what I did today.”
A group of six women – comprising Cherono, fellow Kenyan Valary Aiyabei and Ethiopian quartet Amane Beriso, Ruti, Gulume Tollesa and Helen Tola – passed through five kilometres together in 16:40.
Tola was the first of those to fall behind as the pack reached 10 kilometres in 33:12, then Tollesa started to drift back and was 15 seconds off the pace as the leaders passed 15 kilometres in 49:33.
For the next 15 kilometres, Cherono, Aiyabei, Ruti and Beriso continued to run together as a pack of four. Having reached half way in 1:09:40, the pace continued to creep up and at one point they were on schedule for a 2:19:05 finish, which would have been inside the course record.
Beriso was unable to sustain that pace, though, and at 30 kilometres, reached in 1:38:58, just three women were left at the front: Cherono, Aiyabei and Aga.
With little more than seven kilometres left, Cherono started to tentatively forge ahead of her two remaining rivals. By 40 kilometres, Cherono had a comfortable on Aga and Aiyabei but the chasers hadn’t completely given up and were in their own battle for the runner-up spot.
Cherono went on to cross the finish line first in 2:20:23, just 58 seconds shy of the mark she set when winning in the Germany capital two years ago in far kinder conditions. Aga came through to take second place in a big PB of 2:20:41 with Aiyabei finishing third in 2:20:53, also a lifetime best.
Ethiopia’s Helen Tola finished fourth in a PB of 2:22:51, while Germany’s Anna Hahner was fifth in 2:28:32. Close behind in sixth, Italy’s Catherine Bertone set a world age-45 best of 2:28:34.
1 Gladys Cherono (KEN) 2:20:23
2 Ruti Aga (ETH) 2:20:41
3 Valary Aiyabei (KEN) 2:20:53
4 Helen Tola (ETH) 2:22:51
5 Anna Hahner (GER) 2:28:32
6 Catherine Bertone (ITA) 2:28:34
7 Sonia Samuels (GBR) 2:29:34
8 Azucena Diaz (ESP) 2:30:31
9 Catarina Ribeiro (POR) 2:33:13
10 Kim Dillen (NED) 2:33:24