NAIROBI, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) — Former World marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang of Kenya is keeping his cards close to his chest as he seeks to stage a surprise in his quest to win in Berlin and possible set a new world mark in marathon.
It will be the third time Kipsang is returning to the German capital eyeing to leave another mark on the Berlin marathon on September 24. In 2013, he was the man who broke the world record clocking 2:03.23 taking 15 seconds off the time set on the same course by his compatriot Patrick Makau (2:03:38). However, Kipsang’s record was shattered a year later when Dennis Kimetto became the first man to run under two hours and three minutes when he stopped the clock at 2:02.57. Haile Gebreselassie and Paul Tergat were the other athletes to have broken the world record in Berlin.
Last year, Kipsang ran ten seconds faster than his world record but it was only good enough for second place behind Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, who missed breaking Kimetto’s world record by just six seconds. “I enjoy running in Berlin and I am doing everything right so as to be in top shape and try and win the race. The world record will then have to fall in just by itself,” Kipsang said Tuesday in Iten. “I am inspired and this preparation will be the sharpest ever,” said Kipsang, who won the Tokyo Marathon in February with the current world leading time of 2:03:58. Kipsang will face one of his fiercest rivals in marathon – current world number one Eliud Kipchoge on the start line.
Kipchoge is the best marathon runner in the world at the moment. The 2016 Olympic champion is aiming to run faster in Berlin than Kimetto (2:02:57). Kipchoge was only eight seconds slower than Kimetto in the 2016 London Marathon. A few months later he dominated his rivals to win the Olympic title in Rio. The Kenyan knows all about the Berlin course: he won in 2015, running 2:04:00 despite the insoles of his running shoes flapping for much of the race. Two years previously he finished second in Berlin with another impressive time, 2:04:05 where his compatriot Wilson Kipsang broke the world record with a time of 2:03:23. Kipchoge’s personal best is 2:03:05, set when he won London in 2016.
In May Kipchoge took part in a special race in Monza, Italy, under special conditions on Formula One circuit and ran the fastest time ever recorded for the marathon – 2:00:25. However, this was achieved with rotating pacemakers and providing him with a wind shield to boost performance from start to finish. This is not permitted in normal races. Under current rules, a maximum of three pacemakers can be employed but substitutions are not allowed. Kipchoge has made clear his objective in Berlin: “I was very close to breaking the 2hour barrier in Monza. Now I believe Berlin is the perfect venue for attacking the official World Record.” The Kenyan is 33 and can look back on a long and consistently successful career as a long distance runner.He became the World 5,000m champion in 2003, won silver and bronze at the same distance in the Olympic Games of 2004 and 2008 respectively and is the reigning Olympic Marathon champion.