International, Sports

Kenya’s Cheruiyot puts title on line in defense of London Marathon


   NAIROBI, Jan. 19  -- The defending champion Vivian Cheruiyot will return to London Marathon on April 28 and said she is up to the task.
   Cheruiyot, who is also the reigning Olympic 5,000m champion, will compete against New York Marathon champion Mary Keitany, winner of Berlin Marathon champion Gladys Cherono, and Chicago champion Brigid Kosgei.
   Cheruiyot is the runner-up behind world marathon record holder Keitany at last November's New York Marathon.
   In London in April 2018, Cheruiyot beat Keitany to fourth with Kosgei settling for silver medal.
   Cheruiyot, whose personal best stands at 2:18:31 also won Frankfurt Marathon on her debut in 2017, and was fourth in London.
   "It was a great moment for me winning last year's London Marathon and I am very much looking forward to returning in April. The line-up for this year's race is, once again, incredibly strong so I know I will need to be at my very best to repeat last year's victory but it is a challenge that I'm really looking forward to. I will be ready," Cheruiyot said on Saturday in Nairobi.
   Also confirmed to run are the Ethiopian trio of Tirunesh Dibaba, the three-time Olympic champion on the track and third fastest woman of all time, who finished second in London and won Chicago in 2017.
   There is also Tadelech Bekele, who finished third in London last year, and 21-year-old Roza Dereje, second in Chicago and winner of the Dubai Marathon in 2018.
   Cherono, Kosgei and Keitany top the current World Marathon Majors Series XII rankings with 25 points apiece from their wins in Berlin, Chicago and New York.
   Dereje and Cheruiyot are on 16 points apiece following their second places in Chicago and New York respectively. The Series XII title could be decided in London.
   The World Marathon Majors series adds up points for the best finishes in the world's six best marathons. Series XII started at the last year's Berlin marathon and will finish at the same race in Sept. It will, however, have stops in Chicago, New York, Tokyo, Boston and London.