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November 20, 2018

Cherono focused

Kenya’s Gladys Cherono crosses the finish line to win the women’s race at the 42nd Berlin Marathon. /FILE
Kenya’s Gladys Cherono crosses the finish line to win the women’s race at the 42nd Berlin Marathon. /FILE

Defending champion Gladys Cherono faces litmus test in her defence of the Berlin Marathon title next month.
Cherono will have two-time world champion Edna Kiplagat for company in the event. Cherono clocked 2:20.23 last year to win the event and won the 2015 edition in a  personal best time 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, but was beaten to 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. The Kenyan duo will be up against multiple world and Olympic gold medallist, Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia.
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, she might even get close to the world record of 2:15:25 set by Paula Radcliffe in 2003.
Ethiopia’s Aselefech Mergia set her PB of 2:19:31 in the second of the 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.
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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