Eliud Kipchoge goes for history in Berlin Marathon
What you need to know:
- The fact that Kipchoge has promised a fast race as he seeks his fourth title in the Germany capital heightens the adrenaline rush.
- The 37-year-old could make history as the fifth person to ever break his own world record after legendary Briton Jim Peters, Australian Derek Clayton, Moroccan-born Khalid Khannouchi of United States and Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia.
The athletics world comes to a standstill on Sunday when Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge leads a strong field at this year’s Berlin Marathon.
The fact that Kipchoge has promised a fast race as he seeks his fourth title in the Germany capital heightens the adrenaline rush.
The 37-year-old could make history as the fifth person to ever break his own world record after legendary Briton Jim Peters, Australian Derek Clayton, Moroccan-born Khalid Khannouchi of United States and Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia.
Except Clayton who broke his own world record thrice with the last coming at the 1954 Polytechnic Marathon in London of two hours, 17 minutes and 39 seconds, the rest bettered theirs once.
Gebrselassie is the last to break his own record when he won in Berlin in 2008 in 2:03:59 as he made history as the first man to run under two hours and four minutes.
Gebrselassie's feat came only a year after he set a new world record, winning on the same course in 2:04:26.
Kipchoge, the double Olympic champion set the current world record of 2:01:39 in Berlin four years ago and broke the two-hour barrier when he ran 1:59:40.2 at INEOS 1:59 Challenge race in Vienna in 2019, which, however, didn’t pass for a record.
“Expect a perfect race. I have trained well as usual, every training day is a challenge,” said Kipchoge at a press conference in Berlin on Thursday as he failed to talk about the world record.
“A perfect race is a good race...I want to inspire people and if a course record comes out of this at the end, I will appreciate it.”
The Berlin course has produced eight world records.
Victory for Kipchoge, who took the titles in Berlin in 2015, 2017, and 2018, will see him equal Gebrselassie’s most number of wins in the Germany capital.
Kipchoge’s last race was at the Tokyo Marathon on March 6 this year where he chalked his fourth sub 2:03 time with a course record time of 2:02:40.
Kipchoge, who has only lost twice in his 17 outings with the last coming at 2020 London Marathon, faces one of the finest fields from the East African region.
Leading the challenge that has 18 athletes with sub 2:08, is the defending champion Guye Adola from Ethiopia, who claimed victory last year in 2:05:45 and beating fellow countryman Kenenisa Bekele, who had won the event in 2016 and 2019.
The battle will bring back the memories of the 2017 Berlin Marathon where Kipchoge and Adola produced a sumptuous two-horse display before the Kenyan won in 2:03:32. Adola, who led most of the time, ran a personal best 2:03:46 that still remains for second.
“We have strong athletes who are now coming up and competing with someone like Adola who pushes you to the limit is what we call competition and when we finish the race, we shake hands and pat our backs for a good job done,” Kipchoge told Nation Sport in an earlier interview in Kaptagat.
Other are Kenya’s Bethwel Yegon (2:06:14), who finished second last year, the 2015 World marathon champion Ghirmay Ghebreslassie (2:05:34) from Eritrea, the 2018 Beijing Marathon champion Dejene Debela (2:05:46) from Ethiopia and 2021 Malaga Marathon champion Kenya’s Mark Korir (2:05:49).
The women’s battle could once against zero down to Kenya and Ethiopia rivalry.
However, Keira D’Amato, who aims to become the first American winner and has the fastest time out of the 24 runners (2:19:12), brings in an interesting mix that is dotted with sub 2:22 performers.
Kenya’s Nancy Jelagat Meto (2:19:31-Valencia) and Vibian Chepkirui, the winner of the Vienna City Marathon in 2:20:59 in April, have the experience and speed to deny D’Amato the title.
Rosemary Wanjiru of Kenya, who has a 65:34 in half marathon but making her debut in the marathon, has the potential to ruin the party for the rest.
Ethiopians Gutemi Shone Imana (2:20:11), Workenesh Edesa (2:20:24) and Sisay Gola (2:20:50) are also persons of interest.