22 Sep 2017 - 23:41

Trio threaten marathon record in Berlin


Berlin:  The current top long-distance runners will clash in Germany’s capital tomorrow with a trio, spearheaded by Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge, threatening the world record at the Berlin Marathon.
Kenya’s Kipchoge, 32, and Wilson Kipsang, 35, take on Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele, 35, in an elite line-up with former record-holder Patrick Makau and 2007 world champ Luke Kibet also in the mix.
Kipchoge is the man to beat in Berlin, where the current world record of two hours, two minutes 57 seconds was set by compatriot Dennis Kimetto in 2014.
Kipchoge has won seven of the last eight marathons he has entered, including the Olympic title in Rio de Janeiro when he finished a minute ahead of the field. Kipsang, who ran a then-world record 2:03.23 in 2013 in Berlin, has announced that he plans to go under 2:02:20 in this year’s race, but Kipchoge is just as determined to claim a new record.
“I won’t decide until the last moment how fast I will start out, but I can say this: I want the world record,” he said.
“Winning is not an option, it’s a necessity,” Kipchoge added.
“I have grown mentally since I won in Berlin in 2015.”
The world marathon record has fallen seven times in Berlin over the last 20 years. The early autumn weather normally means little wind and ideal temperatures on a flat, fast course.
Alongside Kipchoge and Kipsang, who won the Tokyo marathon in February, is the Berlin marathon’s defending champion Bekele, who came within six seconds of the world record in Berlin last year. Bekele did so despite muscle cramps during the second half of the race to hold off Kipsang and this year promises a rematch alongside Kipchoge’s considerable challenge.