NAIROBI, Kenya, June 27 – Olympic champion Vivian Cheruiyot targets to improve on her personal best time in the Berlin Marathon in September.
Cheruiyot, 36, confirmed on Wednesday that she will compete in the Berlin marathon on September 29.
It will be her sixth marathon after the wins in Frankfurt and London and two second place finishes in London and New York and a fourth place performance in her debut also in London.
Last year, Cherono was ranked world number one female marathon runner, which saw her also win the London Marathon.
“I will be running in Berlin,” said Cheruiyot. “It is another challenge, another test in my young career as a marathon runner.”
Cheruiyot will face defending champion, three-time winner and fellow Kenyan Gladys Cherono and Mare Dibaba of Ethiopia, the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist and the 2015 world champion, in the marathon.
Cheruiyot finished second in New York in 2018, and second again in London in April behind countrywoman Brigid Kosgei, reversing their 2018 finishing positions.
Her personal best and Cherono’s (who was fourth in London this year) are very close, at 2:18:31 and 2:18:11. Cherono is 36, and Cheruiyot will turn 36 just before Berlin.
“My goal now is to win for the fourth time in Berlin,” said Cherono, who completed her hat-trick of wins in Berlin last year.
Dibaba could realistically be considered the Olympic gold medalist after Jemima Sumgong and Eunice Kirwa have been relieved of their medals for doping. Her best time 2:19:52, is from Dubai 2012, but at 29 she is somewhat younger than her competitors.
In the past 12 years, the men’s race at the Berlin Marathon has produced a string of world class times with six world records into the bargain and the presence of Cherono and Cheruiyot could see them headline a show-stealing performance from the elite women in general.
“We are naturally delighted that we will be having the defending champion Cherono on the start line,” said Race Director Mark Milde.
“Compared to the men, the women in Berlin have some ground to make up. With three very strong contenders in the line-up, the women’s race on September 29 could be center stage.”
The world marathon record stands at 2:17:01 for women only race posted by Mary Keitany back in 2017. However, Britain’s Paula Radcliffe owns the overall record at 2:15:25 from 2003. Cheruiyot with a fast time of 2:18.11 says it will be enough to improve the record, but will love to take Keitany’s mark along the way.
“If it falls in my strides why not. Berlin has a fast course and I will seek fast time to improve my best time. The important thing is to win the race though,” she said.