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Multiple world and Olympic gold medalist Tirunesh Dibaba leads the elite women’s field for the BMW Berlin Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road race, on 16 September.
The 32-year-old Ethiopian, who has three Olympic gold medals and nine world titles on the track and cross country, has a marathon PB of 2:17:56. That time, which she set when finishing second at last year’s London Marathon, makes her the third fastest woman in history. Tirunesh is keen to beat this time in Berlin and, given ideal weather conditions, might even get close to the world record of 2:15:25, set by Paula Radcliffe in 2003.
Tirunesh will face four other women with PBs faster than 2:20, including defending champion Gladys Cherono and two-time world champion Edna Kiplagat. Cherono regained the Berlin Marathon title last year in 2:20:23, having won in 2015 with a PB of 2:19:25.
Kiplagat, 38, won world titles in 2011 and 2013 and nearly picked up a third gold medal in London last year, eventually settling for silver by just seven seconds. The Kenyan set her PB of 2:19:50 in 2012 and is a previous winner in London, New York and Boston.
Ethiopia’s Aselefech Mergia set her PB of 2:19:31 on the second of her three Dubai Marathon victories. The 2010 London Marathon champion will be returning to Berlin for the first time since taking the world bronze medal in the German capital back in 2009.