Vivian Cheruiyot to debut at 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon, by J. Stuart Weir


How will Vivian Cheruiyot fare in the 2017 Virgin Money Marathon next weekend? Well, we are headed across the proverbial pond to find out. For now, we will rely on this fine piece by Stuart Weir on how Vivian Cheruiyot, the women who ran down some of the best women distance runners in her career, will run through the streets of London.

My feeling? Vivian Cheruiyot will finish in the top three in London in her debut.

Cheruiyot_Vivian5k-Rio16.jpgVivian Cheruiyot, photo by

Vivian Cheruiyot

After an illustrious career on the track (4 time world champion at 5,000 or 10,000 as well as winning 4 Olympic medals), Vivian Cheruiyot will run her first Marathon on London on 23 April. She finished second in the Lisbon half-marathon last month in 01:09:44, one second behind Mare Dibaba of Ethiopia, the 2015 World Marathon champion.

Cheruiyot feels that now is the time to take on the new challenge. She said: "I have been running for almost 18 years - track and cross country. Because of my age - I am 33 - I decided to do a marathon while I am still strong. I choose London for my first marathon because London is my second home. I love London because of the people. They are very supportive and are always cheering you on".

I remember Wilson Kipsang once telling me that the hardest thing about switching to marathon was learning to run slowly. Cheruiyot agreed, saying: "I have to train my mind so that I am running at the speed for marathon. I have to reduce my speed. I am used to running faster at the track and in training. Sometimes you think you are not running fast and that you are not in shape. But I was told that I had to reduce my speed because in the marathon you cannot do the same speed as on the track". She added that her training had "not changed so much, a little bit because of the longer runs. There is no difference except for long runs and that the speed for marathon is not the same with the speed for track and field. It has changed a little because I have to train for the marathon". She said that in a week she would typically run about 100K.

After the London Olympics, Vivian took a break and her son, Allan, was born in 2013. She returned to running in 2015 winning the World Championship 10,000 metres in Beijing. She said the comeback was "not so difficult because when I was going on maternity leave I had planned everything. I did not want to come back too quickly. I wanted to have my baby and take 8 months after delivery. So I took 8 months. The problem was just the weight. I was 54 kilos and I had to reduce that to 40. [In the Beijing final] I was afraid that Burka would beat me with the final kick because I was still coming back from maternity leave but I discovered that I had an energy that I could still sprint at the end".

Her approach to London is sensible and low key: "In London I want to run for the experience and to run my best. I don't want to say that I will run a particular time because it is my first marathon and I want to run without pressure".

As to her future plans - back to the track or just the road - she was non-committal: "I cannot answer that question now. I need to do London first and then see what I'm going to do". The good news is that she has no thoughts of retirement just yet.

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