2013 Boston Marathon -- John Hancock
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Sharon Cherop
Marakwet, Kenya
Bib #F1

PRONUNCIATION: Sha-ron Che-rop

AGE: 29 (16Mar84)

PERSONAL BEST: 2:22:39 (Dubai, 2012)

16Apr12 Boston Marathon 1st 2:31:50
27Aug11 IAAF World Championships, Daegu 3rd 2:29:14
18Apr11 Boston Marathon 3rd 2:22:42

18Nov12 Turin Marathon 1st 2:23:57 CR
27Jan12 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon 7th 2:22:39
26Sep10 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon 1st 2:22:43
25Apr10 Hamburg Marathon 1st 2:28:38
25Oct09 Nairobi Standard Chartered Marathon 3rd 2:33:53
26Apr08 Nashville Country Music Marathon 4th 2:39:52
07Oct07 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon 3rd 2:38:45

Sharon Cherop’s experience on the course proved to be the deciding factor in her win at the Boston Marathon last year despite the record heat. In her Boston debut two years earlier, Cherop ran in sync with countrywoman Caroline Kilel and American Desiree Davila until the final meters, but could not keep pace with the duo and was denied the title by six seconds and the runner-up spot by four seconds.

Last year Cherop made amends and after running side by side with countrywoman Jemima Sumgong over the final miles, she put in a crushing surge at the home-stretch corner of Hereford and Boylston. Sumgong was unable to respond and Cherop reached the tape first in 2:31:50, just two seconds ahead of her rival. The close finish marked the fifth consecutive year the women’s race has been decided by three seconds or less.

Cherop is past marathon champion in Toronto and Hamburg, and was the bronze medalist at the IAAF World Championships Marathon in 2011. She was in the hunt to win the World Marathon Majors title in New York City last year, but when the race was cancelled she lost the opportunity. She quickly found an alternate race and won in Turin in a course record 2:23:57.

Cherop said winning Boston was the most beautiful day in her life. “I will be in Boston to try to win again and perform at my best level,” said Cherop. “I know that there are some of the best athletes in the world competing in Boston in 2013, but I’ll be ready for the big race. The course is very hard because there are a lot of hills and you are running without pacers, but I like this course because it’s also making a natural selection among the athletes.”

Cherop trains in Marakwet where she was born and also in Iten. She started running in primary school and in 1999 began serious training. In 2000, she won the bronze medal in the 5,000m at the IAAF World Junior Championships. Cherop currently runs for the Kenyan Armed Forces and says she will work in the army after her professional running career slows down.

She says when she is not training she enjoys reading novels and swimming. Cherop is married to Matthew Bowen, who is a 2:10 marathoner, and the couple has a daughter named Natalia.