A top-class duel is in prospect at the BMW Berlin Marathon when defending champion and course record-holder Gladys Cherono faces fellow Kenyan Vivian Cheruiyot at the IAAF Gold Label road race on 29 September.
The two women have sub-2:19 PBs, ranking them sixth and eighth respectively on the world all-time list. The addition of Mare Dibaba, the 2015 world champion, means it may not necessarily be a two-woman race.
After victories in 2015 and 2017, Cherono achieved her third triumph in Berlin last year. The 36-year-old, who won the world half marathon title in 2014, clocked 2:18:11 to smash Mizuki Noguchi’s course record of 2:19:12 which had stood for 13 years.
Cherono joined the exclusive company of women champions in Berlin with three wins apiece: Renata Kokowska, Uta Pippig and Aberu Kebede. She will now bid to go for the unique honour of a fourth title.
Cheruiyot will be making her Berlin Marathon debut. The 35-year-old Olympic 5000m champion won last year’s London Marathon, improving her best to 2:18:31, and this year finished second in the British capital, beating Cherono on both occasions.
Dibaba will also be competing in Berlin for the first time. The 29-year-old Ethiopian is a more experienced marathon runner compared to Cherono and Cheruiyot. She won the world title in 2015 and one year later took the bronze medal at the Rio Olympics. She has a best of 2:19:52, achieving that time twice, in 2012 and 2015.
Organisers for the IAAF