After claiming the 2018 London Marathon title in brilliant style by beating pre-race favourites, Vivian Cheruiyot is just getting started and has the world record in her sights.
The 34-year-old ran her own race in London by avoiding the leading pack at the start and later catching up and blitzing past struggling pre-race sensations Mary Keitany and Tirunesh Dibaba to cut the tape in 2:18:31, the fourth fastest time in history and her personal best.
“I still have the target of breaking the world record when the right time comes. I cannot single out a specific course or year when I will be attempting the record but I will get there. For now, I want to relax before starting my training for the new season that begins in September,” she said.
The IAAF recognises two world records for women, a ‘mixed gender’ record of 2:15:25 set by Paula Radcliffe on April 2003 at the London Marathon and a ‘women’s only’ record of 2:17:01 set by Keitany on April 2017 on the same course.
It was the second outing in a row for Cheruiyot in London and the 5,000m Olympic champion intimates that she made the mistake of starting fast in last year’s race and the speed took a toll on her as she went on to finish fourth in 2:23:50.
“I was racing against myself this and did not want to follow anyone as that is the mistake I made last year. Unlike my competitors, the world record was not in my mind and I knew they would be too fast for me so I chose the second group from the start,” added Cheruiyot.
Describing the feeling of passing Dibaba and Keitany, the mother of one says those two can run the London course with eyes shut and having the energy to go past them assured her of the title.
“When I saw Dibaba ahead of me, I felt energetic and thought to myself ‘I’m going to get her’. After that, I saw Keitany and I was overtaking her. I silently told myself ‘yes! I am going to be a winner of the London Marathon’,” explained an excited Cheruiyot.
The Kenya Police officer admits the transition from track to the grueling 42km marathons has been difficult as she was used to shorter times and it has taken a lot of training and mental conditioning to get used to the marathon. “It was difficult but I am getting better with every race,” she said.