Athletics Athletics

Makau cross at not defending Berlin title


NAIROBI, Kenya, September 28 – Marathon world record holder Patrick Makau said he was disappointed not to return to defend his Berlin marathon title on Sunday after his management decided to keep him out of the event.

It was in the Germany capital a year ago that the 27-year-old won the race in a new course time of 2:03:39, and became the second athlete to run 26.2 miles under 2:04. The previous record of 2:03:59 was set by Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia on the same Berlin course in 2008.

“It is very disappointing not to race in Berlin. I was prepared to go there and defend my title but maybe my management thought that I should not do so,” Makau told reporters on Friday.

But the athlete, who was surprisingly overlooked by the national federation for selection for the London Olympics, is optimistic the large Kenyan contingent, led by the Boston and New York marathon winner Geoffrey Mutai would prevail over the other competitors.

“I know that they are capable of setting the fastest time over the flat Berlin course. We have been training together in Eldoret and they are geared up for the event,” Makau said.

The race will act as the first major marathon outing for the Kenyans after losing both the men and women’s Olympic titles at the London Games last month.

Makau will, however, compete in the Frankfurt marathon, which acts as the second race in the World Marathon Majors (MMM) series, on October 28.

He will face the competitive Ethiopian pair of Yemane Tsegay and Bozu Worku, who have both run under 2:05 this year, along with fellow Kenyans Albert Matebor and Gilbert Kirwa, winner of the 2009 race.