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Kenyan shrugs off stiff competition to make it three Berlin Marathon titles

Berlin, Sunday @PeopleSports

Gladys Cherono made it a day to remember for Kenya as she smashed her personal best and course record to claim a hat-trick of titles in Berlin on Sunday.

Cherono broke away from the pack after 25km mark to claim victory in a time of 2:18:11 seconds to become the fourth fastest woman in the history of women’s marathon.

The Kenyan lowered Japanese Mizuki Noguchi’s course record of 2:19:12 set in 2005 in the German capital by 61 seconds, besides improving her personal best of 2:19:25 that she set when she won the race in 2015.

Multiple world and Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba led during the early stages, passing through half way in 1:09:03. Cherono, Ruti Aga, Edna Kiplagat and Helen Tola were close behind, and when Dibaba started to struggle a few kilometres later, Cherono—winner in Berlin in 2015 and 2017—went for the kill.

Aga followed 23 seconds later to take second place in 2:18:34 while Dibaba held on for third place in 2:18:55. It was the first marathon in history in which three women finished inside 2:19.

Cherono took home Sh9.5 million for her efforts, Sh5.5million being the winner’s prize with an additional Sh4 million for running below two hours and 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, 33-year-old Eliud Kipchoge’s world record of 2:01:39 was the talk of the day in the men’s race but it was also a moment of pride for Kenya as the country’s athletes took all podium positions.

Behind Kipchoge, Kenya’s Amos Kipruto (2:05:43 personal best, winner of Seoul last year) finished second in 2:06:23 as former world record holder Wilson Kipsang was third in 2:06:48 after both men went out in 62:07.

The pre-race plan was for Kipchoge and his three pacers, Sammy Kitwara, Bernard Kipkemoi, and Josphat Kiptoo Boit to run 2:02:00 marathon pace, with a second group of pacers leading Kipsang and others at 2:03:00 pace.

And unlike this year’s London Marathon, where the top two groups merged into one, the packs stayed separate: within a mile, Kipchoge and his pacers had broken away, and he would not be approached the rest of the way. -Agencies

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