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Dibaba leads women’s deep field for Berlin

Tirunesh Dibaba in action at the London Marathon (Getty Images)

NAIROBI, Kenya, July 31 – Multiple world and Olympic gold medallist Tirunesh Dibaba leads the elite women’s field for the BMW Berlin Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road race, on 16 September.

The 32-year-old Ethiopian, who has three Olympic gold medals and nine world titles on the track and cross country, has a marathon PB of 2:17:56. That time, which she set when finishing second at last year’s London Marathon, makes her the third fastest woman in history.

Dibaba is keen to beat this time in Berlin and, given ideal weather conditions, might even get close to the world record of 2:15:25, set by Paula Radcliffe in 2003.

Dibaba will face four other women with PBs faster than 2:20, including defending champion Gladys Cherono and two-time world champion Edna Kiplagat.

Cherono regained the Berlin Marathon title last year in 2:20:23, having won in 2015 with a PB of 2:19:25.

Kiplagat, 38, won world titles in 2011 and 2013 and nearly picked up a third gold medal in London last year, eventually settling for silver by just seven seconds. The Kenyan set her PB of 2:19:50 in 2012 and is a previous winner in London, New York and Boston.

Ethiopia’s Aselefech Mergia set her PB of 2:19:31 on the second of her three Dubai Marathon victories. The 2010 London Marathon champion will be returning to Berlin for the first time since taking the world bronze medal in the German capital back in 2009.

Compatriot Yebrqual Melese joined the sub-2:20 club earlier this year, clocking 2:19:36 to finish third in Dubai. The 28-year-old has previously achieved marathon victories in Prague, Houston and Hangzhou.

Ethiopia’s Ruti Aga finished second in Berlin last year in a PB of 2:20:41 and will be keen to improve on that this year.

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After running an impressive 2:22:44 on her marathon debut to win in Osaka earlier this year, Japan’s Mizuki Matsuda will line up in Berlin for the second marathon of her career.

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