NAIROBI, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- Former champion Gladys Cherono of Kenya said Friday her worst nightmare fighting with injury is behind her and is now focused on breaking the two hours and 20 minutes barrier when she runs on Sunday at the Berlin Marathon.
The women's elite field for Berlin marathon is ripe with talent, featuring five runners whose personal best is under 2:25. A record number of 43,852 runners from 137 countries and regions have entered the race.
"I have to go to Berlin to attack my personal best. I couldn't run a marathon in 2016 because I had a stress fracture and feared I might never regain top form. But now everything is ok," said Cherono, who won in Berlin two years ago clocking 2:19:25.
The Kenyan stands out as the favorite among this quintet with her fast time of 2:19:25, which is 13 seconds behind the course record, set in 2005 by the Japanese Mizuki Noguchi (2:19:12).
Although Cherono is the only runner to have broken 2:20 hours mark, four of her rivals have gone under 2:25.
They are Amane Beriso (2:20:48), Gulume Tollesa (2:23:12) and Ruti Aga (2:24:41) all Ethiopians as well as the Kenyan Valary Aiyabei (2:21:57).
"It's the norm that leading women runners come to Berlin in order to run fast and have the best chance of setting personal bests. So we can reckon with a pace on schedule for breaking 2:20 on Sunday. It could even be the kind of pace to threaten the course record," said race director Mark Milde.