What you need to know:
- Berlin is one of the six major marathons that shall be held this season after last year's calendar was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic
- Boit received blessings from his friend and training mate Kipchoge, before leaving for the race on Wednesday an athlete he has always paced in various races
- Kenyan athletes will face a uphill task ahead of them and they will be facing the Ethiopian athletics legend Kenenisa Bekele who is also the second fastest after clocking 2:01:41 in 2019 missing the world mark by two seconds
The World Marathon Majors season gets underway on Sunday with the 2021 Berlin Marathon.
The race has attracted a few upcoming marathoners from Kenya away from the usual big names.
Berlin is one of the six major marathons that shall be held this season after last year's calendar was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic led to cancellation of all the races last year, with the exception of the London Marathon.
Berlin Marathon has been marked as one of the fastest courses where world records have been recorded with the recent one being 2018 where Eliud Kipchoge clocked 2:01:29 lowering Dennis Kimetto’s time of 2:02:57.
Josephat Boit who paced Kipchoge in 2018 and later broke the world record in the distance will be lining up for the full marathon where he said that he is eyeing to clock his personal best time.
Boit received blessings from his friend and training mate Kipchoge, before leaving for the race on Wednesday an athlete he has always paced in various races.
According to Boit, he is privileged that he will be competing with some of the best athletes in the world in a course that he is familiar with after pacing for 25km in 2018.
“I’m familiar with the course and my target is to lower my personal best during the race because I’m still green in the distance. I have trained well and I will be expecting a good race on Sunday,” said Boit, who trains in Kaptagat, Elgeyo Marakwet County.
He revealed that he has been guided well by his seniors well and he will be doing his best.
Boit paced Kipchoge and his competitors during the NN Mission Marathon in Netherlands last year up to the 25km mark which he says was his first race since the coronavirus pandemic struck.
Former Rotterdam Marathon champion Marius Kipserem who started his career in Asia by competing regularly will also be in the mix with his eyes set on the prize after dismal performance in his two major marathons (Tokyo and London) he participated in.
Kipserem was among the pacemakers who helped Eliud Kipchoge spectacularly break the two-hour marathon barrier in Vienna in 2019 during the INEOS 1:59 Challenge.
Philemon Kacheran, who is under the Global Sports Communications stable will also be trying his luck when he lines up for the race.
He boasts of training with Kipchoge whom he says has been his mentor and has raced with him on various occasions as a pacemaker.
"I have prepared well and I just want to run a good race after receiving blessings from my mentor whom we train together. It is my first major marathon and my target is to lower my personal best time," said Kacheran who will be competing in his fourth marathon.
Also in the Kenyan line up is Festus Talam and Eliud Kiptanui who will be seeking to be in the podium positions.
But the Kenyan athletes will face a uphill task ahead of them and they will be facing the Ethiopian athletics legend Kenenisa Bekele who is also the second fastest after clocking 2:01:41 in 2019 missing the world mark by two seconds.
Bekele will also be facing strong opposition from his compatriots Guye Adola who was second in 2017 in Berlin Marathon when he clocked 2:03:46 and Olika Adugna who clocked 2:06:15 during his debut in the Dubai Marathon last year.
Tariku Bekele joins the strong list from the neighbouring country.