NAIROBI, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- Defending champion Gladys Cherono will be hopeful that good things come in threes when she lines up for the Berlin Marathon on September 16.
The 35-year-old is bidding to become a three-time winner of the Berlin Marathon, with her main focus on Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba, winner of the Chicago Marathon.
Organizers have assembled a fast elite team, featuring three other women to have run under two hours and 20 minutes.
Kenya's Cherono won Berlin in 2015 and 2017, and her best time of 2:19:25 was achieved in the first of those victories.
"There is no shortcut at this level of competition. You don’t expect an easy challenge because everyone coming in is a star and has a big record behind them. I have to focus on my own strength and train harder to attain my goal and win the race," she said on Monday in Nairobi.
The elite women’s field in Berlin is the strongest for many years. At the top of the pile is Ethiopia's Dibaba.
The 32-year-old has won three Olympic gold medals and five World Championship golds between 2003 and 2013.
Her personal best time is 2:17:56, set when she finished second in the 2017 London Marathon, making her the third fastest woman in the history of the marathon.
Dibaba is keen to lower this record in Berlin, and given ideal weather conditions, might even have a chance of attacking Paula Radcliffe’s world record of 2:15:25, set by the Briton in 2003.
However, Cherono, with her best time of 2:19:25, will want to claim her own third title in the German capital.
The Kenyan will first tackle the human challenge and make sure she has the title secured before channeling her energies into running a fast time.
“The important thing is to win the race,” she said.
Another Kenyan in the race is 2017 Boston Marathon winner Edna Kiplagat. The 38-year-old shows no signs of retiring, and with two world marathon titles to her credit and a silver at the London 2017 World Championships, Kiplagat will be hard to beat.
In addition to her Boston triumph, she has also won the New York and London Marathons in 2010 and 2014 respectively.
Other notable entrants include Yebrugal Melese, who has run 14 marathons, Ruti Aga and Aselefech Mergia, all of whom hail from Ethiopia.