Vibian Chepkirui among the women to watch at the 2022 Berlin Marathon next weekend

September 14, 2022

Vibian Chepkirui in Iten, Kenya

Before the organizers announced her as part of the elite field for the 2022 Berlin Marathon, the 2022 Vienna City Marathon Champion had talked about her next big plan, which was to hopefully get into the Berlin Marathon and run a fast time. Her dream has partly come through; she is part of the elite field. What now remains for her is to run a quick time on Sunday the 25th.

Chepkurui, who has run in just one marathon two times in her career, already appears on the first page of the World Athletics Ranking for Women Marathon (Half Marathon-25km-30km), ranked at number 67 in the world.

If she doesn’t win the Berlin Marathon, it will be her first-ever marathon to finish behind another runner.

The 28-year-old made her marathon debut last year in September at the Vienna City Marathon, where she then went back again in April this year and set a new course record time of 2:20.59. She remains one of the upcoming female marathon runners replenishing Kenya’s granary of world beaters in the marathon event. She already plans to establish her name better in the distance next weekend.

“I am planning to run in a bigger and hopefully a faster marathon soon, probably in September or October, and better my chances of running under 2:20. My management is finalizing negotiations to get me in the big marathon.

“If I will be lucky to get in a faster marathon, attempting to break a course record there will likely result in a much better personal best time for me and an improvement on my profile as a marathon runner.

“I am currently doing an average of at least 30km daily during my training. So if I do 20km in the morning, I will add another 10km in the evening to make it 30. On Sundays, when it is supposed to be a day to be off training, I jog a little,” Chepkirui said during the May interview.

She added that despite the increase in mileage that she was currently putting in, a new routine made her training feel even more effortless than when she used to train.

Chepkirui believes that her change of training base from Eldoret to Iten contributed immensely to her success.

“Even before I joined the Ikaika Sports Group in Iten, there was always a different group to join for a training run any time of the day. That is why I saw an improvement in my running when I came to Iten. For now, I do not have to join any group since I am now part of management where we train together as a team,” said Chepkurui. “I have learned that the most important thing to success in running is patience and perseverance. Success doesn’t come easy, but is sure to come with hard work,” she added.

Only two women in the elite field have broken the two hours and 20 minutes that Chepkurui will be aiming to do.

Keira D’Amato of the USA has a personal best time of 2:19:12, which she set this year at the Houston Marathon in February. This time makes her the American record holder for the marathon event. Kenya’s Nancy Jelagat is the other sub-2:20 marathon runner with a personal best time of 2:19:31.

There are a total of six runners who are within a minute from the sub-2:20 mark. They include Ethiopia’s Gutemi Shone Imana (2:20:11), Kenya’s Maurine Chepkemoi (2:20:18), Ethiopia’s Workenesh Edesa (2:20:24), Sara Hall of USA (2:20:32) and Sisay Gola 2:20:50 of Ethiopia.

There will be two notable debutants. Kenya’s Rosemary Wanjiru has a half marathon personal best time of 1:05:34 and has represented Kenya at the World Athletics Championships and the World Athletics Half marathon championships. Ethiopia’s Nigsti Haftu has a personal best time of 1:06:17 for the half marathon distance. 

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