Cherono at the 2011 World Championships
|Competitor for Kenya|
|Silver||2013 Moscow||5000 m|
|World Junior Championships|
|Gold||2008 Bydgoszcz||3000 m|
|Gold||2010 Moncton||3000 m|
|Silver||2010 Moncton||5000 m|
|World Cross Country Championships|
|Gold||2010 Bydgoszcz||Junior race|
|Silver||2009 Amman||Junior race|
Mercy Cherono (born 7 May 1991 in Kericho) is a Kenyan long-distance runner. 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. 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. 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. 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, and then she won the gold at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games, running largely uncontested to set a Games record time.
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. 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. 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. 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 300 m. 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.
She won a junior cross country race on home turf in Kericho in late 2009, 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. 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 team-mates 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". 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
Cherono came thirteenth in the national senior cross country race in February 2011. 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. Her cross country season ended with a top three finish at the Trofeo Alasport. 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.
She began 2012 win with a sizeable win at the Campaccio cross country. 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.
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.
|2007||World Cross Country Championships||Mombasa, Kenya||23rd||Junior race|
|World Youth Championships||Ostrava, Czech Republic||1st||3000 m|
|2008||World Junior Championships||Bydgoszcz, Poland||1st||3000 m|
|Commonwealth Youth Games||Pune, India||1st||3000 m|
|2009||World Cross Country Championships||Amman, Jordan||2nd||Junior race|
|African Junior Championships||Bambous, Mauritius||1st||3000 m|
|2010||World Cross Country Championships||Bydgoszcz, Poland||1st||Junior race|
|World Junior Championships||Moncton, Canada||1st||3000 m|
- 2007 XC Championships Junior Race - W Final. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-07-20.
- Foster, Anthony (2007-07-11). Cherono proves too strong for Ethiopian duo. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-07-20.
- Okoth, Omulo (2007-11-03). Kenyan cross country season opens. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-07-20.
- Okoth, Omulo (2007-11-10). Cherono takes second victory - AK Cross Country, 2nd Meeting. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-07-20.
- Macharia, David (2007-12-02). Kipsang, Chemwono cruise to victory in Eldoret. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-07-20.
- Foster, Anthony (2008-07-12). 2008 WJC Women's 3000m. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-07-20.
- Abepitiyage, Thompson complete sprint doubles; Cherono a class act - Commonwealth Youth Games - Day Three. IAAF (2008-10-17). Retrieved on 2010-07-20.
- Makori, Elias (2009-02-21). Veterans Mosop and Kiplagat prevail in Nairobi – Kenyan World XC Champs Trials. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-07-20.
- Johnson, Len (2009-03-28). Junior Women’s Race Report – Amman 2009. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-07-20.
- Ouma, Mark (2009-07-30). Ndiku and Cherono prevail - African junior champs, Day 1. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-07-20.
- Sampaolo, Diego (2009-09-06). Rudisha 1:42.01 African 800m record in Rieti - IAAF World Athletics Tour. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-07-20.
- Turner, Chris (2009-09-04). Trio triumphs; Bolt dazzles in the damp - ÅF Golden League bows out - REPORT. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-07-20.
- Makori, Elias (2009-11-22). Home girl Cherono does hosts proud as Jelimo launches comeback - AK Weekend cross country meeting #2. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-07-20.
- Makori, Elias (2010-02-20). Tanui emerges while Masai pounces as Kenya selects squad for Bydgoszcz. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-07-20.
- Johnson, Len (2010-03-28). Cherono sets the record straight - Women's Junior race report - Bydgoszcz 2010. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-07-20.
- Shanghai Meeting Results 5000m Women. IAAF Diamond League. Retrieved on 2010-07-20.
- Martin, David (2010-07-19). World Junior Championships open in Moncton as Mercy Cherono defends 3000m title. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-07-20.
- Morse, Parker (2010-07-20). 2010 World Junior Championships - Women's 3000m Final. IAAF. 2010-07-20.
- Sampaolo, Diego (2010-08-29). Rudisha lowers 800m World record again, 1:41.01; Carter dashes 9.78sec in Rieti - IAAF World Challenge. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-08-30.
- Mutuota, Mutwiri (2010-11-14). Sisters Cherono and Chepkoech triumph in Kericho – AK weekend series, meeting 2. IAAF. Retrieved on 2010-11-14.
- Macharia, David (2011-01-24). Jepleting and Kipsang take Discovery Kenya XC titles in Eldoret. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-01-31.
- Mutuota, Mutwiri (2011-02-19). Mutai and Masai take hard fought wins in Nairobi; reigning World champs Ebuya and Chebet won't defend. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-03-07.
- Ouma, Mark (2011-03-07). Cherono and Mwangangi victorious at inaugural Africa Cross Championships. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-03-07.
- Sampaolo, Diego (2011-03-28). Another cross country win for World champion Merga - Alà dei Sardi report. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-03-29.
- 2011 World Championships - Women's 5000 metres final. IAAF. Retrieved on 2012-01-06.
- Sampaolo, Diego (2012-01-06). Soi defends in a thriller, Cherono dominates at Campaccio XC. IAAF. Retrieved on 2012-01-06.
- Valiente, Emeterio (2012-12-16). Chepkok and Cherono take the honours at Venta de Banos. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-02-14.
- Daily Nation, June 29, 2010: Celebrations galore as villagers await heroine's return
- The Standard, December 12, 2009: Colour and pomp at Soya Gala
- The Standard, December 11, 2010: Rudisha and Lagat crowned Soya best athletes