Published On: Fri, Sep 23rd, 2016

Berlin Marathon Countdown – Kipsang Leads Pack

The top three in Sunday's BMW Berlin Marathon

The top three in Sunday’s BMW Berlin Marathon

As the countdown begins to the 2016 Event, (Topi Lyambila in Berlin writes) All eyes are on former marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang and Ethiopian track star turned road racer Kenenisa Bekele to steam up the major and highlight the 43rd edition of BMW Berlin Marathon scheduled for 25th September, with a clutch of athletes possessing the talent to go toe to toe with the duo.

Seven of the male athletes entered in this year’s race have personal best times under two hours and six minutes thus raising expectations of a very fast race on a course that has produced seven world records and the world’s fastest times of the year achieved on five occasions.

The entry of Kipsang, who brought the world record down to 2:03:23 in Berlin in 2013 and Bekele, who will be looking to make a big improvement on his marathon debut time of 2:05:04 in Paris in 2014 is the novel of the race

But the fastest man on the start list is not Wilson Kipsang but his fellow Kenyan Emmanuel Mutai. He finished second in Berlin two years ago in 2:03:13, beaten only by the man who set the world record, Dennis Kimetto (2:02:57). Another to take into account is the Ethiopian Tsegaye Mekonnen who will be making his Berlin debut. In 2014 the teenager ran a world junior best of 2:04:32 to make headlines in Dubai but failed to win a place on the national team for the Olympics.

“I think we’ll see a relatively big group in the lead this time since there are a number of athletes capable of going with the kind of pace which will bring a time under 2:04. It could be very exciting and depending on the weather – very fast,” said the Race Director Mark Milde, who has also cited the presence of three more Kenyans in Vincent Kipruto (2:05:13), Eliud Kiptanui (2:05:21) and Evans Chebet (2:05:33) who have shown they can break 2:06 as omens of a fast marathon.

Ethiopians are the favourites in the women’s race. Aberu Kebede not only has the fastest personal best but a great deal of experience in the BMW Berlin Marathon. Her tally from three appearances comprises two wins and one second place, an impressive credentials. Kebede won in 2010 in 2:23:58 and set her current personal best of 2:20:30 two years later when she took that race again.

Last year she was beaten only by the Kenyan Gladys Cherono who ran the fastest time in the world with 2:19:25 with Kebede runner-up in 2:20:48. Her chief ambition remains to break the 2:20 barrier.

Kenya’s Janet Ronoh is so far the only high profile athlete from Kenyan but her personal best time of 2:26:03 places her as the sixth fastest behind four Ethiopians and Japanese Ruti Aga who has under her belt a 2:25:27.

The Favourites

The Elite Men in the Berlin-Marathon:

Emmanuel Mutai (KEN/2:03:13)
Wilson Kipsang (KEN/2:03:23)
Tsegaye Mekonnen (ETH/2:04:32)
Kenenisa Bekele (ETH/2:05:04)
Vincent Kipruto (KEN/2:05:13)
Sisay Lemma (ETH/2:05:16)
Eliud Kiptanui (KEN/2:05:21)
Evans Chebet (KEN/2:05:33)
Mark Kiptoo (KEN/2:06:00)
Alfers Lagat (KEN/2:06:58)
Jacob Kendagor (KEN/2:07:47)
Yuki Kawauchi (JPN/2:08:14)
Steffen Uliczka (GER/2:20:19)

Team Kenya

MEN: Emmanuel Mutai (2:03:13), Wilson Kipsang (2:03:23) Vincent Kipruto (2:05:13) Sisay, Eliud Kiptanui (2:05:21), Evans Chebet (2:05:33), Mark Kiptoo (2:06:00), Alfers Lagat (2:06:58)

WOMEN: Janet Ronoh 2:26:03


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Berlin Marathon Countdown – Kipsang Leads Pack
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