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Kenya’s Cherono targets podium spot in tough London marathon

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Berlin Marathon champion Gladys Cherono from Kenya is optimistic about a podium finish in London on April 22.

Cherono, 34, last competed at the Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Half Marathon in the United Arab Emirates and could only finish eighth in one hour three minutes and 34 seconds.

The half marathon was won by her compatriot Fancy Chemutai with Mary Keitany taking silver.

Now, Cherono has her focus on the London Marathon.

“You always train to win and dominate in a race. But there will be tough competition, which you must evaluate and see how best to make your mark,” said Cherono in Iten on Monday.

Defending champion Keitany is aiming to break the world record of 2:15:25 set by Briton Paula Radcliff in the mixed-gender race in 2003. But that has not stopped Cherono from dreaming of her maiden win in London.

Cherono is just be one of the huge stars of distance running. She won the Berlin Marathon in 2:20.23 last September.

Cherono did not run any marathons in 2016 due to injury and was fifth in Boston last year before going on to clinch her second title in Berlin. But the challenge in London will be another test.

Kenyan Keitany, who was second at the New York Marathon, has already announced her intent to shatter Paula Radcliffe’s world record.

Meanwhile, she has another target of firming her grip on the women’s World Marathon Majors (WMM) leaderboard, which will see the winner walk away with 500,000 US dollars.

“I have raced before in London and the crowd supported me. I hope they will be behind me in my challenge and help drive me on to achieve something incredible in London,” said Keitany.

Ethiopia will have Chicago marathon champion Tirunesh Dibaba, who has hit top form this year. “I am very happy to say that I will be returning to the London Marathon,” said Dibaba on her twitter page.

Other favorites are Mare Dibaba, Tigist Tufa, Tadelech Bekele, Brigid Kosgei (Kenya), Rose Chelimo (Bahrain) and Vivian Cheruiyot (Kenya).



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