What you need to know:
- Course recorder holder and defending champ Ethiopia’s Assefa, Kenya’s Chepkirui go head-to-head
- World record holder, racing on his favourite course, faces a horde of compatriots including 2022 London Marathon champion Kipruto
Berlin Marathon has one of the fastest courses on the globe and with world record holder, Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge talking about running fast anything is possible Sunday morning when the 49th edition of the famous race is contested in the German capital city.
Racing begins at 9.15am local time (10.15am Kenyan) and will be broadcast live on NTV, starting from 9.30am.
Will it be another special day for Kipchoge on his favourite hunting ground: Berlin?
In five appearances here, Kipchoge has won the race four times, setting world records in the last two in 2018 and 2022.
His first world record was 2:01:39 that he shaved thirty seconds in setting his current record last year of 2:01:09.
The double Olympics champion, who is eyeing a remarkable fifth Berlin Marathon title, said that he will use the race as part of preparations for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
“Berlin is like home to me,” said a confident looking Kipchoge, who is decidedly a star attraction here.
A big threat to the 38-year-old legend in the elite men’s race is compatriot Amos Kipruto, the 2022 London Marathon champion, who said he was aiming to lower his personal best of 2:03:13 set at last year’s Tokyo Marathon. Incidentally, it is Kipchoge who won the race in 2:02:40.
“I believe I will be able to run an impressive race,” Kipruto threw down the gauntlet. “Competing with the world record holder has always inspired me.”
Other top Kenyan runners in the elite men’s list are Jonathan Maiyo with a personal best time of 2:04:56, Eliud Kiptanui (BP 2:05:21), Ronald Korir (2:05:37), Philemon Kiplimo (2:05:44), Enock Onchari (2:05:47) and Mark Korir (2:05:49).
Also in the mix are Josphat Boit (2:06:34), Abel Kipchumba (2:06:49), Denis Chirchir (2:07:17), Justus Kangogo (2:07:40), Titus Kipkosgei (2:07:46) and Dominic Nyairo (2:08:13).
Watch out for Eritrea’s Ghirmay Ghebreslassie (2:05:34), Ethiopians Tadu Abate (2:05:38), Andualem Shiferaw (2:05:52) and Derseh Kindie (2:08:23), Israeli Godadaw Belachew (2:07:54) and, Switzerland’s Tadesse Abraham (2:06:38).
The women’s field has last year’s winner, Ethiopian Tigst Assefa, who ran a course record and fifth fastest time for women, 2:15:37, in claiming her victory. Incredibly, she ran 18 minutes inside he previous personal best.
Sheila Chepkirui, is Kenya’s sole representative in the women’s race and comes with the second fastest time in the field, and 10th in the all-time list, of 2:17:29, set at last year’s Valencia Marathon.
The Kericho-based Chepkirui, fourth at this years’ London Marathon, is itching to tussle on the streets of Berling. “I know it will be competitive and I am looking forward to a good race,” she said.
Several other Ethiopians will also be looking to excel including Tigist Abayechew (2:18:03), Workenesh Edesa (2:18:51), Gebrekidan Hiwot (2:19:10), Yimer Zeineba (2:19:28), Woldu Etagegn (2:20:03) and Imana Gutemi (2:20:11).
Kenya has produced nine of the last 12 men’s winners and five of the last 11 women’s winners.
Meanwhile, the Nation Media Group and Turkish Airlines have partnered to give extensive coverage of the 2023 Berlin Marathon.
With excitement building up from Eliud Kipchoge's home village of Kaptagat to the arches of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Nation Media Group's NTV will provide live updates from Eldoret, Kapsabet, Berlin, and Nairobi.
In Eldoret, NMG’s Lead Editor, Sports and Integration Projects Elias Makori will host Germany's ambassador to Kenya, Sebastian Groth as they follow Berlin proceedings live.
On the sidelines, Yoshua Makori will be keen to capture the sights and sounds as Eldoret residents converge on the famous, gigantic screen on Uganda Road.
Turkish Airlines has flown NMG Sport's Hillary Anekea to Berlin for exclusive coverage of the on-the-ground happenings as the world anticipates a possible world record.
In Kapsabet, NMG Sport's Victor Wafula will zero in on reactions from Amos Kipruto's family and acquaintances as the 2022 London Marathon champion seeks redemption in Berlin after an unsuccessful defence of his title in London earlier this year.
Additional reporting by Bernard Rotich