A look ahead to the BMW Berlin Marathon, where Wilson Kipsang, Kenenisa Bekele, Emmanuel Mutai, Aberu Kebede and Britain’s Charlotte Purdue are among those in action
The men’s marathon world record has been broken seven times in Berlin and athletes are targeting fast times once again when the 43rd edition of the BMW Berlin Marathon takes place on Sunday (September 25).
Part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors series, the IAAF Gold Label Road Race has a course record of 2:02:57 – Dennis Kimetto’s world record time from 2014. The year before that, Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang had broken the world record with 2:03:23 on the same Berlin course and he returns to attempt to get the world record back on Sunday.
After his world record in 2013, Kipsang went on to win in London and New York, but finished fifth in London earlier this year. Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele, the 5000m and 10,000m world record-holder, finished third in that London race in April and hopes to improve on his 2:05:04 marathon PB set on his debut in Paris in 2014.
Challenging them will be Kenya’s Emmanuel Mutai, who finished second behind his compatriot Kimetto when he ran his world record two years ago, clocking 2:03:13 for what is now the third fastest ever marathon time.
On his aims for Berlin, Kipsang told organisers: “I’ve trained well and, three years down the line from my world record here, I feel good and believe I have the potential to attempt the world record once more.
“Running at the top level, there is a lot of wear and tear on the body, especially when you are running for a time, but I am very focused on the world record.”
Bekele, who is one of eight runners in the field to have gone sub-2:06 said: “I consider my personal best of 2:05 to be slow compared to the best runners. I want to run as fast as I can on Sunday and beat my best.”
Ethiopia’s Tsegaye Mekonnen and Kenyans Vincent Kipruto, Sisay Lemma, Eliud Kiptanui and Evans Chebet are other sub-2:06 runners in the field.
In the women’s race, Ethiopia’s Aberu Kebede is going for her third Berlin win as well as a sub-2:20 time. Her PB of 2:20:30 was set when winning her second title in 2012. Her compatriot Birhane Dibaba, who won the 2015 Tokyo Marathon and has a 2:22:30 personal best, looks set to be her main rival.
“I have trained well and hope that this time I will finally break the 2:20 barrier,” Kebede told organisers.
Britain’s Charlotte Purdue, who ran 2:32:48 on her marathon debut in London earlier this year, is also part of the 11-strong elite women’s field, which also features Germany’s Katharina Heinig.
Switzerland’s Rio 2016 Paralympic champion Marcel Hug is among those contesting the elite wheelchair events along with athletes including South Africa’s Ernst van Dyk, Switzerland’s Heinz Frei and Manuela Schär and Britain’s Simon Lawson.