Could the men’s marathon world record again be broken in Berlin?
Berlin has consistently been the world’s fastest marathon and the race on Sunday (September 27) should again see some top-class times.
Previously 10 world records have been set on the flat course and the most likely to set the 11th is Eliud Kipchoge.
The 2003 world 5000m champion won the Virgin Money London Marathon this year in an impressive world-leading 2:04:42 and his PB dates from the 2013 Berlin Marathon when he ran 2:04:05. That was the only defeat in his marathon career and it took a then world record from Wilson Kipsang to beat him.
“If everything comes together in Berlin, something very special can happen,” Kipchoge told event organisers. “I’m convinced that my training partner Emmanuel Mutai and I can push on together towards a new world record.”
On the possibility of a sub-two-hour marathon in the future, he added: “Two half marathons, back-to-back, in 59:30 would give a time of 1 hour 59 minutes – that is not unrealistic.”
“I’m convinced that my training partner Emmanuel Mutai and I can push on together towards a new world record” – Eliud Kipchoge
Mutai was only 11th in London but showed better form with 2:03:13 in finishing second in Berlin last year. He hasn’t won a marathon, though, since the 2011 London event and his namesake Geoffrey will also be out to show he isn’t past his peak.
Scott Overall’s PB of 2:10:55 was set in Berlin in 2011. That gained him Olympic selection and he is hopeful a similar time could put him in line for a place in Britain’s team for Rio. Other British athletes in action in Berlin include Lee Merrien, John Beattie and Matthew Hynes.
The women’s race could see a sub-2:20 time. Gladys Cherono won her previous marathon in Dubai in 2:20:03 this year and is the world half-marathon champion. Her likeliest challengers are Ethiopian Aberu Kebede, who has twice won Berlin, and Hamburg winner Meseret Hailu, who set her best time of 21:19 in winning Amsterdam in 2012.
Alyson Dixon and Sonia Samuels are the leading British women and are hopeful a sub-2:30 could put them at the forefront for Olympic selection, with the qualifying target being 2:31. Dixon spoke with AW after her fourth place finish at the Morrisons Great North Run and you can read some of what she had to say here.
» The September 24 edition of Athletics Weekly magazine includes a preview to the Berlin Marathon, while the October 1 issue will feature reports, pictures and results