With three of the fastest men in history over the distance in the field, Sunday’s Berlin Marathon has every chance of seeing yet another world record set.
Kenyan runners Dennis Kimetto and Emmanuel Mutai, along with Ethiopia’s Tsegaye Kebede are all capable of lowering the world best when they cross the finishing line at the Brandenburg Gate.
The 40 editions of the race so far have already seen the last five world records set along the course, the latest being last year’s 2hr 03min 23sec by another Kenyan, Wilson Kipsang.
Kimetto, 30, made no bones about his intentions. “I’m ready, my preparation has been good and I’m full of confidence,” he said.
“If the conditions are right, we can break the world record.”
Kimetto’s pedigree is clear as he has already run close to a record time with his 2:03:45 on his way to victory in Chicago last year, his second success of the season after his triumph in Tokyo.
He burst on to the marathon scene in Berlin 2012, making the step up from half-marathon to the full distance and defying the odds by finishing runner-up, just a second behind compatriot Geoffrey Mutai.
He has the added advantage of knowing the Berlin streets well from his days of pounding the asphalt in the half-marathon, which he won and then broke the world 25km record by more than half-a-minute with a run of 71min 18sec in 2012.
Mutai, 31, is the fourth fastest man over the distance, running Kimetto close in Chicago last year, before tasting victory in his own right in London.
He also knows the streets of the German capital well enough, after winning a silver medal in the 2009 world championships.
At 27, Kebede already has considerable success under his belt, having won six of the 18 marathons he has run, finished second three times and lifted an Olympic bronze medal in 2008 and a world championship gold four years later.
“I heard about the Berlin course from Haile (Gebreselassie) and I’ve always wanted to run here,” said Kebede, hoping to follow in the footsteps of his illustrious compatriot, who won the race twice.
Another man with the potential to gatecrash the Berlin party is young Kenyan runner, Geoffrey Kamworor.
Only 21, he was third last year and in March took the world half-marathon title.
There seems little likelihood, though, of a record in the women’s race and Paula Radcliffe’s London 2003 mark of 2:15:25 looks safe.
The main aim of the leading runners in the field will be to finally break the 2min 20sec mark.
Ethiopian training partners Feyse Tadese (2:21:06) and Tirfi Tsegaye (2:21:19.), have both run close, while American runner Shalane Flanaghan, whose personal best is 2:22:02, is aiming for a US national record.
Courtesy of nation.co.ke