Lydia Cheromei, Amsterdam 2008
Lydia Cheromei, Amsterdam 2008

Lydia Cheromei (born 15 May 1977, in Baringo District) is a Kenyan athlete born into a family of athletes. She specialises in long distance running. She rose to fame at the age of thirteen with a win in the junior race at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships. She took some years away from competition, citing burnout, and returned in the mid-nineties, making an appearance at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Cheromei enjoyed success on the roads, taking wins at the Saint Silvester Road Race and came sixth on the track at the 2000 Summer Olympics. She did not compete from 2001 to 2004 due to private problems, and missed another two years of competition after a positive doping test in 2006.

Cheromei returned in 2008 and began competing in marathons, followed by the Italian Coach Gabriele Nicola, taking a debut win at the Amsterdam Marathon.[1]

Personal life

Lydia Cheromei is the fifth-born of seven children. She shares her passion for running with her parents and brothers Joseph, Jeremiah and David. Her mother used to run six-minute miles, while her father in 2010 was still running seven-minute miles at the age of 72. Both her brothers Joseph and Jeremiah have represented Kenya at the Olympics.[2] David Cheromei says he was inspired to take racing seriously so he would not have to be embarrassed about being beaten by his sister.[3] Fellow athlete and world record holder Paul Tergat is her cousin.[4] In September 2006 Lydia gave birth to a daughter, Faith Chelagat.[5]


Junior and burnout

Cheromei was bronze medalist at the World Junior Championships and won the junior category of the World Cross Country Championships in 1991 at the age of 13. She won Kenyan trials for the 1991 World Championships, but was considered too young to compete in Tokyo. She was at the time coached by Sister Christine Heverin of Singore Girls Secondary School.[6]

She was mostly inactive between 1994–1997, since the young runner had allegedly burnt out.[7] She made a comeback but had another three-year break until 2004 due to personal problems.[8]

Return to running and doping ban

Cheromei has three victories (1999, 2000 and 2004) at Saint Silvester Road Race held annually in Brazil. She won the 2004 Zevenheuvelenloop by running 47:02, the second best 15K time ever.[8]

In 2006 Cheromei was found guilty of clomiphene doping. The sample was delivered on 24 February 2005 in an out-of-competition test in Eldoret. She received an IAAF suspension from May 2005 to May 2007.[9] She claimed she was taking the substance under the prescription of her doctor as she was undergoing fertility treatment at the time of testing.[10] The ban remained as she did not inform the relevant authorities of the information.[11]

Marathon running

Cheromei won the 2008 Rotterdam Half Marathon with a course record of 68:35; the previous record (69:13) had been set by herself in 2004 when she also won the event.[12]

She had a successful marathon debut by winning the 2008 Amsterdam Marathon and timing 2.25.27.[13] In the 2009 Rotterdam Marathon she finished 2nd behind Nailya Yulamanova of Russia.[14]

She ran at the 2011 Dubai Marathon and secured second place behind Aselefech Mergia – her time of 2:23:01 marked an improvement upon her previous best of more than three minutes.[15] She broke the course record at the Prague Half Marathon in April and her winning time of 1:07:33 marked a career improvement for the distance of well over a minute.[16] The following month she made a successful return to the city, winning the Prague Marathon in a course record time of 2:22:34, again a personal best.[17] In October she won the Marseille-Cassis Classic with a course record run of 1:08:23 hours,[18] but managed only fifth at the Delhi Half Marathon the following month.[19]

She was among the pre-race favourites at the 2012 Dubai Marathon in January, but finished in sixth place. However, she still improved her personal best by over a minute with a run of 2:21:30 hours in a fast field of women.[20][21] She was the favourite to defend her title at the 2012 Prague Half Marathon and produced a personal best of 1:07:26 hours, but was beaten by Joyce Chepkirui.[22] Returning to the Prague Marathon, she entered as the favourite and maintained a fast pace until 30K, but eventually dropped out a few kilometres from the finish suffering from a leg injury.[23] She placed fourth at both the Lille Half Marathon and the 2012 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships, which was her first international appearance in eight years. She ran a course record of 2:23:07 to win the Yokohama Women's Marathon in November.[24]

She entered the 2013 Prague Marathon in the hope of emulating her win two years previously, but a hip problem left her in sixth place.[25]


Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing  Kenya
1990 World Junior Championships Plovdiv, Bulgaria 3rd 10,000 m 33:20.83
1991 World Cross Country Championships Antwerp, Belgium 1st Junior race (4.435 km) 13:59
1992 World Cross Country Championships Boston, United States 3rd Junior race (4.005 km) 13:43
Olympic Games Barcelona, Spain 30th (h) 10,000 m 33:34.05
World Junior Championships Seoul, South Korea 4th 10,000m 33:01.99
1995 IAAF Grand Prix Final Monaco 7th 3000 m 8:48.46
1996 Olympic Games Atlanta, United States heats 5000 m 15:49.85
1997 World Cross Country Championships Turin, Italy 11th Long race (6.6 km) 21:34
World Championships Athens, Greece 5th 5000 m 15:07.88
IAAF Grand Prix Final Fukuoka, Japan 2nd 5000 m 15:15.64
2000 World Cross Country Championships Vilamoura, Portugal 4th Long race (8.08 km) 26:02
Olympic Games Sydney 6th 5000 m 14:47.35
IAAF Grand Prix Final Doha, Qatar 4th 3000 m 8:54.85
2001 World Cross Country Championships Ostend, Belgium 3rd Long race (7.7 km) 28:07
2004 World Half Marathon Championships New Delhi, India 2nd Half marathon 1:09:00
2008 Amsterdam Marathon Amsterdam, Netherlands 1st Marathon 2:25:57
2012 World Half Marathon Championships Kavarna, Bulgaria 4th Half marathon 1:09:13

Personal bests

See also


  1. ^ "Lydia Cheromei Marathon Training Program | RunnerUniverse". Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  2. ^ "Born to run". SWVA Today. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  3. ^ "Running Free: Runner to share expertise through camp". Running Courier. 11 July 2010. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  4. ^ Retrieved 1 April 2016. ((cite web)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Cross Country – Cheromei Blames Fertility Jabs for Ban. AllAfrica (17 January 2007). Retrieved 2 February 2011.
  6. ^ "TRACK AND FIELD; Kenyans on Informal Path to Success". The New York Times. 19 August 1991. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  7. ^ "Bid to end waste of talent". The Tribune. 22 January 2000. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  8. ^ a b "Near World record misses at 15km for Sihine and Cheromei". IAAF. 21 November 2004. Retrieved 12 January 2007.
  9. ^ "Doping Rule Violation". IAAF. 11 January 2007. Archived from the original on 24 February 2007. Retrieved 27 November 2006.
  10. ^ Cross Country – Cheromei Blames Fertility Jabs for Ban. AllAfrica (17 January 2007). Retrieved on 2 February 2011.
  11. ^ "CROSS COUNTRY: Cheromei blames fertility jabs for ban". Daily Nation. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  12. ^ "Double Kenyan victory, as six go sub-60 in Rotterdam". IAAF. 14 September 2004. Archived from the original on 16 September 2008.
  13. ^ Track and Field News, 19 October 2008: 2:07:51 For Paul Kirui At Amsterdam Marathon Retrieved 19 October 2008.
  14. ^ "Kibet edges Kwambai as both clock 2:04:27 – Rotterdam Marathon report". IAAF. 5 April 2009. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  15. ^ Butcher, Pat (21 January 2011). "Barmasai and Mergia fight headwind to take Dubai Marathon wins". IAAF. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  16. ^ Butcher, Pat (2 April 2011). "Limo and Cheromei shatter course records at Prague Half Marathon". IAAF. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  17. ^ Edwards, Andy (8 May 2011). "Cheromei smashes women's Prague Marathon course record". IAAF. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  18. ^ Vazel, Pierre-Jean (30 October 2011). "Tsegay and Cheromei crush course records in Marseille-Cassis Classic". IAAF. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  19. ^ Krishnan, Ram. Murali (27 November 2011). "In close races, Desisa and Kabuu prevail in New Delhi Half". IAAF. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  20. ^ Butcher, Pat (27 January 2012). "Abshero stuns with 2:04:23 debut, Mergia clocks 2:19:31 in Dubai". IAAF. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  21. ^ "Marathon All Time". 27 January 2012. Archived from the original on 24 February 2012. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
  22. ^ Butcher, Pat (31 March 2012). "Tsegay's 58:47 shatters course record in 'very windy' Prague". IAAF. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  23. ^ Edwards, Andy (13 May 2012). "Kiprop dashes Cheromei's hopes while Chimsa lives up to expectations in Prague". IAAF. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  24. ^ Nakamura, Ken (18 November 2012). "Cheromei breaks course record in Yokohama". IAAF. Retrieved 14 February 2013.
  25. ^ Wenig, Jörg (12 May 2013). "Kemboi and Rotich claim good wins in Prague Marathon". IAAF. Retrieved 13 May 2013.

Sporting positions Preceded byIncumbent Rotterdam Women's Half Marathon Winner 2004 Succeeded by Bezunesh Bekele Preceded by Mestawet Tufa Zevenheuvelenloop Women's Winner (15 km) 2004 Succeeded by Berhane Adere