Nairobi, Oct 12 (IANS) Berlin marathon champion Gladys Cherono on Wednesday pulled out of the New York marathon on November 6, citing a back injury.
It will be the second time this year that the 32-year-old has opted out of a major marathon because of injury. In April, Cherono withdrew from competing at the London marathon because of a nagging hip injury, reports Xinhua.
“That is it. I am out of New York. I have a back injury that I have failed to shake off and am not training at 100 percent. I need time to recover and I will not be ready for the contest in New York,” she said in Eldoret.
The Kenyan World Half Marathon 2014 gold medallist has since informed the race organisers of her predicament. In her place, the organisers have settled on World champion and Olympic bronze medallist Mare Dibaba from Ethiopia as her replacement.
Cherono’s training partner and two-time winner, Mary Keitany will lead Kenya’ s charge in the women’s race, which also has former Olympic 10,000m silver medallist Sally Kipyego and two-time Honolulu Marathon winner Joyce Chepkirui, who will be making her New York Marathon debut.
The 28-year-old Kenyan won last year’s Amsterdam Marathon clocking a personal best of 2:24:11 and finished third at this year’s Boston Marathon.
Cherono had the quickest marathon time in the world last year of 2:19.25 when she won the Berlin Marathon last September. Her winning time of 2:19:25 in Berlin (2015) also makes her the seventh-fastest marathon runner of all time.
Stanley Biwott of Kenya will defend his New York City Marathon crown in the men’s discipline.
Biwott will race the five-borough course for the third time, having won last year’s race after breaking through in the final two minutes to finish in 2:10:34.
He was fifth in his New York debut in 2013, and since then has finished as runner-up at the London Marathon in both 2014 and 2016.
“New York is special to me because it was here I won my first title in the Abbott World Marathon Majors,” Biwott said.
“After last year, my name has spread worldwide, and I have been considered among the top athletes in the world. That’s why I always like to return to New York, where I left a piece of my heart.”
Keitany has won the New York Marathon for the past two years. A victory this year would make her the first woman to win three consecutive New York Marathon titles since Grete Waitz claimed five straight wins from 1982 to 1986.
Keitany is the second-fastest woman in history and holds the African record of 2:18:37. The 34-year-old has also twice won the London Marathon and took gold at the 2009 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships.
“I am very excited again to go to New York and defend my title,” said Keitany.
“I am happy that I will get to try to defend for the third time, because I have won in 2014 and 2015. This year, I am very excited and happy that, if it is possible, I can win for the third time and can make history. If you win two or three times, it is not easy. If you do it, you can make history,” she added.