Kenya's Cherono, Kiplagat look to win Berlin marathon

NAIROBI, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- Teamwork will be critical for Kenyan runners Gladys Cherono and Edna Kiplagat when they line up for the Berlin marathon on Sunday.

The two have expressed their doubts in tackling the world record of 2:15:25, set by Britain's Paula Radcliffe 15 years ago.

Instead, they are focused on setting a new course record in Berlin. Cherono is the race defending champion and is eyeing the third crown in the German capital.

The current course record was set in 2005 by Japan's Olympic champion Mizuki Noguchi, who ran 2:19:12, which also stands as the Asian record to this day.

Cherono, who won the title last year, running 2:20:23 holds her best time at 2:19:25 set in winning the first of her two Berlin titles in 2015.

"I want to break my personal best on Sunday," said Cherono on Thursday. "I have a plan and my training has been injury free. I have to focus on my own strength and hope my colleague Edna (Kiplagat) will join me and we run as a team."

Her compatriot Kiplagat has been one of the marathon elite for many years.

"It has always been my goal to run in Berlin. I know the course is fast and shall try to run my best ever time," said Kiplagat, whose lifetime best is 2:19:50 and has twice won the World title (2011 and 2013).

However, Berlin race director Mark Milde feels the world record will be under threat, especially from Chicago Marathon champion Tirunesh Dibaba.

"I expect that one woman will take the lead from the start and behind her a group will form which would be on course to break 2:20," said Milde. There was no mistake the runner he was referring to is Tirunesh Dibaba.

Milde has assembled the strongest women's field in the history of the Berlin marathon. As a reflection of the race's international attraction, 133 countries will be represented among the 44,389 participants. Berlin marathon is part of the World Marathon Majors Series (WMM) which also comprises Tokyo, Boston, London, Chicago and New York.

"I have heard a lot about the Berlin marathon. I know very well that the course is very fast," said Dibaba, 33, who holds a best time of 2:17:56 when she won in Chicago last year.

"Switching to the marathon wasn't a problem for me. I improved my training in preparation for Berlin and did more volume. I am very well prepared and want to beat my best time on Sunday."

Alongside Cherono and Kiplagat, Dibaba will face home opposition from Aselefech Mergia (2:19:31 and Ruti Aga, who was last year's runner-up clocking 2:20:41.

[ Editor: WPY ]


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