irobi, Aug 31: A hip problem prevented former World Half Marathon champion Gladys Cherono of Kenya from defending her crown in Berlin last year, but the Kenyan now feels ready to battle for the title on September 24.
“It really feels nice to have recovered. It had been hard for me last season. There were no marathon races for me owing to the injury and I am happy it has healed completely,” the 34-year-old told Xinhua news agency on Wednesday in Eldoret.
Cherono, who won in Berlin with her lifetime best of 2:19:25 hours back in 2015, will face competition in the shape of her rivals who include defending champion Aberu Kebede, a triple Berlin winner (2010, 2012, 2016), and her Ethiopian compatriots Amane Beriso, runner-up in Dubai 2016, Gulume Tollesa, the 2015 Frankfurt winner, and Meseret Mengistu, the 2015 Paris champion.
Another contender to be reckoned with is the Prague champion this year, Valary Aiyabei of Kenya, with a best of 2:21:57. Every one of them has shown they have the ability to win marathons on the big stage.
“The big marathons always have tough athletes and it has never been easy winning. I guess it comes down to fitness and strategy and hopefully it will play to my advantage,” she added. IANS