2017 Frankfurt Marathon Diary: Vivian Cheruiyot just "wants to better her time", what that really means


Vivian Cheruiyot may be the most articulate woman distance runner from Kenya. Her understanding and confidence while speaking English allows her to do justice to the wonderful story of her running and the excitement in womens running in this modern era. Yet, Vivian Cheruiyot is quite modest. When she says, she "just wants to run a better time", that statement, dear readers, means and says a lot!

In any language.

Cheruiyot_VivianBib-Frankfurt17.JPGVivian Cheruiyot, Frankfurt Marathon presser, October 26, 2017, photo by PhotoRun.net

Let me take you back to August 2016. In Engenhao Stadium, the fans were treated to the deepest and finest 10,000 meters every run by women in history. Almaz Ayana stole the show with a new world reord of 29:17.45. Fourteen of the fifteen followers ran PBs or National records. In second, Vivian Cheruiyot ran 29:32.53 for the Kenyan NR and PB. In third, Tirunesh Dibaba ran 29:42.56 for the Ethiopian NR and PB. In sixth place, American Molly Huddle ran 30:13.17 for the US record. Molly had to slow down at 5000m, or she could have come within one second of her then AR for 5000 meters!

Cheruiyot_Vivan-OlyGame16.jpgVivian Cheruiyot, en route to NR and PB at 10,000m of 29:32.53, Engenhao Stadio Olimpico, photo by PhotoRun.net

For the past five to six years, it has become apparent that women's global distance running continues to improve at a tear and that each global race is a literal boxing match over five thousand or ten thousand meters, where the finest women distance runner in the world, run with their hearts on their sleeves and their lungs and feet following the tremendous pace.

After the 10,000m in Rio, Vivian Cheruiyot was a bit distraught. " I did not win, and I told myself, what do I have to do to win an Olympic gold medal?"

Her internal struggle was answered in the 5000 meters, when Vivian Cheruiyot and team mate Hellen Obiri ran down an exhausted Alamz Ayana, and an ebullent Vivian Cheruiyot took her gold medal, inspiring the country of Kenya like few other racers. Vivian Cheruiyot chose to end her track career on that gold medal note in Engenhao Stadio Olimpico, on that glorious night, when her dreams, her heart, her lungs, and most importanlty, her feet made her the Olympic champion. Vivian Cheruiyot, in a beautiful description of her Rio race, noted, "my heart was smiling when I finished the 5000 meters."


Vivian Cheruiyot, Olympic champion, 5,000 meters, Engenhao Stadio Olimpico, photo by PhotoRun.net

The following April, at the finest marathon in the world, Vivian Cheruiyot took third, in her debut behind Mary Keitany, and Tirunesh Dibaba. Again, in the deepest women's marathon in recent memory, Mary Keitany took off at breakneck speed, running 2:17:02 despite some stomach distress. In second, Tirunesh Dibaba, in her then second marathon, ran 2:17:56, after two bouts of the revolt of the digestive tract (you can see the video). Vivian Cheruiyot went out in 1:07:56. We will let Vivian relate the experience here. " I ran my personal best for the half marathon, but I told myself to slow down, as Mary was so far away and I knew I had 22 kilometers to go." Vivian ran 2:23:50 for her marathon debut, a fine first effort and a lesson in marathon pacing that one must experience. When one slows ten minutes from the first half to the second half of a marathon, that is a lot of hard earned self knowledge.

Cheruiyot_Vivian1d-Kenya12.jpgVivian Cheruiyot, when her heart and face smile in unison, Kenyan, February 2012, photo by PhotoRun

Now, in her second marathon, Vivian Cheruiyot has trained well and wants better. Her requested pace is a more realistic 70 minute for the half marathon. Vivian Cheruiyot, in good weather, and Mother Nature may remind us on Sunday who is boss, could negative split. She could run a sub 2:20 marathon, she is that fit, and she is that good.

So, we will have to wait another 36 hours, with her four year son, Allan, who will watch his Mom from the television in Kenya. " He likes to see my races on TV." noted the smiling Vivian Cheruiyot.

So you, dear friend, as I, will just have to wait and see how Mother Nature and the gods of running provide the challenges that only a marathon can provide. One thing is clear, Vivian Cheruiyot is not only fit, she should provide herself a new personal best. How fast? That, is why we watch races! And many eyes around the world will be on the 2017 Mainova Frankfurt Marathon.

Cheruiyot-Schindler1-Frankfurt17.JPGVivian Cheruiyot and Jo Schindler, Frankfurt Marathon race organiser, prior to the Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.

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