What you need to know:
- Rising Kenyan stars will line up against compatriot and defending champion Eliud Kipchoge in the men’s race, while the women's category, Sheila Chepkirui will be the lone ranger in a tough battle for the top prize on the streets of the German capital next Sunday.
Three-time Berlin Marathon champion Gladys Cherono is optimistic Kenyans will, yet again, do well at this years’ race.
Rising Kenyan stars will line up against compatriot and defending champion Eliud Kipchoge in the men’s race, while the women's category, Sheila Chepkirui will be the lone ranger in a tough battle for the top prize on the streets of the German capital next Sunday.
Margaret Wangare, who was also lined up for Berlin, has, unfortunately, pulled out with injury.
NTV will broadcast next Sunday’s race live with a road show and fan viewing party being held on the streets of Eldoret.
Cherono shared her experience about the Berlin Marathon course with Nation Sport, having competed in the German capital four times, winning on three occasions.
Cherono, who has since retired, says the course is good and favourable weather conditions could make it even easier for faster times.
“I’m glad in my running career I managed to win three times at the Berlin Marathon and this is one of my best races.
“The course is so nice and I really enjoyed running there. I would always train well and upon reaching there, it was easy for me despite stiff competition,” said Cherono.
Cherono asked Kenyans not to fear anyone because all athletes competing have also trained like them and it only depends on how one will attack the race in the end.
“The marathon is technical and once you finish your programme and line up for the race, you have to run a smart race and that is why you see many athletes breaking away in the 38-kilometre mark.
“That’s where fatigue normally comes in but with good training, one is able to conquer that and emerge a winner,” she added.
The Berlin Marathon is one of the fastest marathons in the world where nine world records in the men’s race (including all last eight world records) and three in the women’s race have been shattered since the race’s inception in 1974.
Cherono says those competing should use this rich history.
“I ran in the London Marathon twice (2018 and 2019) where I finished in fourth place on both occasions but you can’t compare it with Berlin. With favourable conditions, it is possible to run fast times that is why you see Eliud Kipchoge has even done it twice in the race,” she said.
She bagged victory in 2015, beating a strong field of Ethiopians when she clocked two hours, 19 minutes and 25 seconds, finishing ahead of other podium finishers Aberu Kebede (2:20:28) and Meseret Hailu (2:24:33) respectively.
She would again line up for the 2017 edition where she entered the race as one of the favourites and won in 2:20:23 ahead of Ethiopia’s Ruti Aga (2:20:41) with her compatriot Valary Aiyabei finishing third (2:20:53).
In 2018 she defended her title when she crossed the line in 2:18:11 beating Ethiopians Ruti Aga (2:18:34) and Tirunesh Dibaba (2:18:55) to the top podium place.
Her expectations to go for the fourth title were shattered when she picked up an injury at the 2019 edition and was forced to drop at the 30km mark.
The injury forced her to retire at an early age and she has since been managing her family business.
Cherono started her running career in 2004, featuring in various road races and her inclusion in Team Kenya came in 2012 where she was selected for the Africa Games where she bagged gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres races in Porto Novo, Benin.
In 2013, she represented Kenya at the World Championships in Moscow where she earned herself a silver medal in the 10,000m race.
In 2014 she was selected to represent Kenya at the World Half Marathon Championships in Copenhagen where she bagged gold.
She sent her goodwill message to all Kenyan athletes competing in next weekend’s Berlin Marathon and also in all the other marathons this season.