Mercy Cherono

Mercy Cherono Koech (born 7 May 1991 in Kericho) is a Kenyan long-distance runner. She was the silver medalist in the 5000 metres at the 2013 World Championships in Athletics.

Mercy Cherono
Mercy Cherono by Augustas Didzgalvis.jpg
Cherono at the 2013 World Championships
Medal record
Women's athletics
Representing  Kenya
World Championships
Silver medal – second place 2013 Moscow 5000 m
Commonwealth Games
Gold medal – first place 2014 Glasgow 5000 m
World Junior Championships
Gold medal – first place 2008 Bydgoszcz 3000 m
Gold medal – first place 2010 Moncton 3000 m
Silver medal – second place 2010 Moncton 5000 m
World Cross Country Championships
Gold medal – first place 2010 Bydgoszcz Junior race
Silver medal – second place 2009 Amman Junior race

She is a two-time world junior champion in the 3000 metres (2008, 2010) and has also won gold medals at the 2007 World Youth Championships in Athletics and 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games. She has been a success junior athlete in cross country running, taking the silver medals in the junior team and individual competitions at the 2009 IAAF World Cross Country Championships and improving to the gold medals at the 2010 edition.


Cherono made her first international appearance at the 2007 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa and she finished 23rd in the junior race.[1] She reached her first international podium at the 2007 World Youth Championships as she ran a championship record time of 8:53.94 to win the gold medal in the 3000 metres.[2] She had a successful cross county season at the end of the year, taking 6 km junior race victories in three of the Athletics Kenya meetings.[3][4][5] She had back-to-back wins in the junior race at the Tuskys Wareng Cross Country in 2007 and 2008.

She did not receive selection for the 2008 World Cross Country Championships, but instead focused on track running. First she added a junior title to her youth 3000 m win, beating Bizunesh Urgesa in a time of 8:58.07 to win the gold at the 2008 World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz,[6] and then she won the gold at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games, running largely uncontested to set a Games record time.[7]

Her place on the Kenyan world cross country team looked uncertain in 2009 as head coach Julius Kirwa dismissed her chances, saying she had run too many races that season. Cherono replied by taking the lead immediately at the Kenyan Trials and winning the junior race by a margin of thirteen seconds.[8] At the 2009 World Cross Country Championships in Amman, Cherono engaged in a race-long duel with Genzebe Dibaba in the junior race. Cherono took the lead in the final stages but a difficult stretch with a 40-metre climb enabled Dibaba to overtake her and Cherono ended up with the silver medal.[9] At the 2009 African Junior Athletics Championships, Cherono eased to the 3000 m title by some 13 seconds but found herself beaten again by Genzebe Dibaba in 5000 m race, finishing with the silver medal.[10] She competed on the senior track circuit that year and was third at the Rieti IAAF Grand Prix, recording a personal best of 8:44.67 for the 3000 m.[11] She took third for a second time at the Memorial van Damme in September, recording personal bests in the 1500 metres and 2000 metres and beaten only by reigning world champions Gelete Burka and Vivian Cheruiyot.[12]

She won a junior cross country race on home turf in Kericho in late 2009,[13] but failed to reach the top three at the 2010 Kenyan Trials. Her fourth-place finish was enough to gain a place on the team for the 2010 World Cross Country Championships.[14] Cherono rose to the occasion at the World Championships in Bydgoszcz, the same location as her 2008 World Junior win. She led with her Kenyan teammates for much of the race and she won by a margin of seven seconds, leading home a 1–2–3–4 victory for the Kenyan team. Despite the significant winning margin, she did not need to push herself to the victory, later saying: "In the second lap, I had a lot left".[15] She made her first outing on the IAAF Diamond League circuit in May, running a personal best of 14:47.13 for seventh in the 5000 metres at the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix.[16] At the 2010 World Junior Championships in Athletics, Cherono became the first woman to retain the 3000 m junior title as she held off a challenge from Emebet Anteneh to become the first gold medallist of the event.[17][18] She also won a silver medal in the 5000 m, finishing behind Genzebe Dibaba.

Taking to the senior circuit, she ran at the Rieti IAAF Grand Prix in August and took second in the 3000 m behind Sylvia Kibet, setting a new lifetime best of 8:42.09.[19] She turned her focus to senior cross country and won at the AK meet in Kericho in November, while her sister Caroline Chepkoech went on to win the junior race.[20] She was chosen as the most promising sportswoman at Kenya's annual SOYA Awards. In January 2011 she ran at the Discovery Kenya Cross Country meet in Eldoret, but misjudged her run and slipped into fourth place near the end.[21]

Cherono came thirteenth in the national senior cross country race in February 2011.[22] Although she missed out on a place for the world team, she headed to the newly created 2011 African Cross Country Championships and won the gold in a medal sweep alongside Viola Kibiwot and Doris Changeywo.[23] Her cross country season ended with a top three finish at the Trofeo Alasport.[24] On the 2011 Diamond League circuit she placed in the top three of the 5000 m at the Prefontaine Classic and the Meeting Areva. She was chosen for the Kenyan senior track team for the first time and came fifth over 5000 m at the 2011 World Championships in Athletics.[25]

She began 2012 win with a sizeable win at the Campaccio cross country.[26] She missed her chance to run at the 2012 Summer Olympics but was dominant on the track circuit that year: she won the Herculis, Athletissima and British Grand Prix 2012 IAAF Diamond League meets and was runner-up at the London Grand Prix, Weltklasse Zurich and Memorial van Damme. A 3000 m personal best of 8:38.51 minutes came at the Herculis meet. After the track season she won the Cross Internacional de Venta de Baños and the Cross de Itálica.[27]

Cherono won the national trials for the 5000 m and went on to claim the silver medal in the event at the 2013 World Championships in Athletics behind Meseret Defar.[28] On the 2013 IAAF Diamond League circuit she was runner-up in the 1500 m at the Memorial Van Damme, runner-up in the 3000 m at the DN Galan, and placed in the top three of the 5000 m a both the Prefontaine Classic and the Weltklasse Zürich.[29] She returned to the Cross de Venta de Baños and won for a consecutive season.[30] On 19 August, 2016, Cherono came in 4th place in the 5000m event at the Rio Olympics in 14:42.89 out of a field of 17 runners[31]


Cherono is from Kipajit village, near Sotik town. She started running while at Kipajit Primary School and later moved to Chelimo Primary School near Kericho and eventually Ngariet Secondary School in Sotik. She is coached by Gabriel Kiptanui and managed by Gabriel Rosa. She is the oldest of six siblings. Her younger sister Sharon Chepkorir is also a runner. Their father John Koech runs a training camp in Kipajit village.[32]

Cherono won the Most Promising Sportswoman of the Year category at the 2009 Kenyan Sports Personality of the Year awards,[33] and repeated by winning the same category the next year.[34]


Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
2007 World Cross Country Championships Mombasa, Kenya 23rd Junior race (6 km) 22:32
World Youth Championships Ostrava, Czech Republic 1st 3000 m 8:53.94
2008 World Junior Championships Bydgoszcz, Poland 1st 3000 m 8:58.07
Commonwealth Youth Games Pune, India 1st 3000 m 9:06.01
2009 World Cross Country Championships Amman, Jordan 2nd Junior race (6 km) 20:17
2nd Junior team 18 pts
African Junior Championships Bambous, Mauritius 1st 3000 m 8:54.96
2nd 5000 m 16:12.65
2010 World Cross Country Championships Bydgoszcz, Poland 1st Junior race (5.833 km) 18:47
1st Junior team 10 pts
World Junior Championships Moncton, Canada 1st 3000 m 8:55.07
2nd 5000 m 15:09.19
2011 African Cross Country Championships Cape Town, South Africa 1st Senior race (8 km) 27:13
World Championships Daegu, South Korea 5th 5000 m 15:00.23
2013 World Championships Moscow, Russia 2nd 5000 m 14:51.22
2014 Commonwealth Games Glasgow, Scotland 1st 5000 m 15:07.21
2015 World Championships Beijing, China 5th 5000 m 15:01.36
2016 Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 4th 5000 m 14:42.89

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "2007 XC Championships Junior Race – W Final". IAAF. 2007. Archived from the original on 3 February 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2010.
  2. ^ Foster, Anthony (11 July 2007). "Cherono proves too strong for Ethiopian trio". IAAF. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  3. ^ Okoth, Omulo (3 November 2007). "Kenyan cross country season opens". IAAF. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  4. ^ Okoth, Omulo (10 November 2007). "Cherono takes second victory – AK Cross Country, 2nd Meeting". IAAF. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  5. ^ Macharia, David (2 December 2007). "Kipsang, Chemwono cruise to victory in Eldoret". IAAF. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2010.
  6. ^ Foster, Anthony (12 July 2008). "2008 WJC Women's 3000m". IAAF. Archived from the original on 25 October 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2010.
  7. ^ "Abepitiyage, Thompson complete sprint doubles; Cherono a class act – Commonwealth Youth Games – Day Three". IAAF. 17 October 2008. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  8. ^ Makori, Elias (21 February 2009). "Veterans Mosop and Kiplagat prevail in Nairobi – Kenyan World XC Champs Trials". IAAF. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  9. ^ Johnson, Len (28 March 2009). "Junior Women's Race Report – Amman 2009". IAAF. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  10. ^ Ouma, Mark (30 July 2009). "Ndiku and Cherono prevail – African junior champs, Day 1". IAAF. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  11. ^ Sampaolo, Diego (6 September 2009). "Rudisha 1:42.01 African 800m record in Rieti – IAAF World Athletics Tour". IAAF. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  12. ^ Turner, Chris (4 September 2009). "Trio triumphs; Bolt dazzles in the damp – ÅF Golden League bows out – REPORT". IAAF. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  13. ^ Makori, Elias (22 November 2009). "Home girl Cherono does hosts proud as Jelimo launches comeback – AK Weekend cross country meeting #2". IAAF. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  14. ^ Makori, Elias (20 February 2010). "Tanui emerges while Masai pounces as Kenya selects squad for Bydgoszcz". IAAF. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  15. ^ Johnson, Len (28 March 2010). "Cherono sets the record straight – Women's Junior race report – Bydgoszcz 2010". IAAF. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  16. ^ "Shanghai Meeting Results 5000m Women". IAAF Diamond League. Archived from the original on 27 May 2010. Retrieved 20 July 2010.
  17. ^ Martin, David (19 July 2010). "World Junior Championships open in Moncton as Mercy Cherono defends 3000m title". IAAF. Archived from the original on 22 July 2010. Retrieved 20 July 2010.
  18. ^ Morse, Parker (20 July 2010). "2010 World Junior Championships – Women's 3000m Final". IAAF. Archived from the original on 23 July 2010. Retrieved 20 July 2010.
  19. ^ Sampaolo, Diego (29 August 2010). "Rudisha lowers 800m World record again, 1:41.01; Carter dashes 9.78sec in Rieti – IAAF World Challenge". IAAF. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  20. ^ Mutuota, Mutwiri (14 November 2010). "Sisters Cherono and Chepkoech triumph in Kericho – AK weekend series, meeting 2". IAAF. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  21. ^ Macharia, David (24 January 2011). "Jepleting and Kipsang take Discovery Kenya XC titles in Eldoret". IAAF. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  22. ^ Mutuota, Mutwiri (19 February 2011). "Mutai and Masai take hard fought wins in Nairobi; reigning World champs Ebuya and Chebet won't defend". IAAF. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  23. ^ Okoth, Omulo (7 March 2011). "Cherono and Mwangangi victorious at inaugural Africa Cross Championships". IAAF. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  24. ^ Sampaolo, Diego (28 March 2011). "Another cross country win for World champion Merga – Alà dei Sardi report". IAAF. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  25. ^ "2011 World Championships – Women's 5000 metres final". IAAF. Archived from the original on 16 June 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  26. ^ Sampaolo, Diego (6 January 2012). "Soi defends in a thriller, Cherono dominates at Campaccio XC". IAAF. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  27. ^ Valiente, Emeterio (16 December 2012). "Chepkok and Cherono take the honours at Venta de Banos". IAAF. Retrieved 14 February 2013.
  28. ^ Johnson, Len (17 August 2013). "Report: Women's 5000m final – Moscow 2013". IAAF. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  29. ^ Mercy Cherono. Tilastopaja. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  30. ^ Mills, Steven (16 December 2013). "Cherono bounces back at Venta de Banos – cross-country round-up". IAAF. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  31. ^ "Rio 2016 5000m women - Olympic Athletics". International Olympic Committee. 3 June 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  32. ^ Daily Nation, 29 June 2010: Celebrations galore as villagers await heroine's return
  33. ^ The Standard, 12 December 2009: Colour and pomp at Soya Gala Archived 16 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  34. ^ "Rudisha and Lagat crowned Soya best athletes". The Standard. 11 December 2010. Retrieved 5 May 2016.

External linksEdit