NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 6 – Having run the fastest Marathon race ever, clocking 2:00:25 at the Monza Formula One Track in Italy, Olympic Marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge will be targeting Dennis Kimetto’s 2:02:57 world record at the Berlin Marathon in September.
The time clocked in Monza was not taken into consideration as an official record as it involved optimized ‘laboratory test’ conditions, but the 33-year old will have a real chance of engraving his name on the history books in September.
“I was very close to breaking the two-hour barrier in Monza. Now I believe the Berlin Marathon is the perfect venue for attacking the official world record,” Kipchoge told the Marathon’s official website after being announced as one of the men to grace the race.
His 2:00:25 run in Monza 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.
With his form, Kipchoge will find the lucky stars aligning to his favor with the last six records having been broken in the German city with its conditions of wind and road terrain providing a superb platform to run record time.
In a short video posted on his official twitter account, Kipchoge said; “I am happy to be announced to participate at the Berlin marathon, I am happy to participate and I am confident I will run a beautiful race.”
Over the last 14 years, the Marathon World Record has been broken six times, all coincidentally in Berlin. Of the six, four have been courtesy of Kenyans.
World Cross Country legend Paul Tergat lowered American Khalid Khannouchi’s record of 2:05:38 to 2:04:55 in 2003. His huge competitor of road running, Ethiopian Haille Gabresellasie returned to the German City four years later, lowering the record further to 2:04:26.
The following year, in 2008, Gabresellasie further took the record down, timing 2:03:59. Three Kenyans, Patrick Makau, Wilson Kipsang and Kimetto then went on to be the successors of the record in 2011, 2013 and 2014 respectively.
Makau ran 2:03:38 before Kipsang plucked 15 seconds off the record to run in 2:03:23. Kimetto then broke the 2:03 barrier, becoming the first man to run a marathon under two hours three minutes, timing 2:02:57 in 2014.
Kipchoge came close to lowering the record during the London Marathon in 2:03:05, coming only eight seconds shy of Kimetto’s record. He famously looked at the screen and smiled in regret, having slowed down in the final few kilometers of the race.
The 33-year old will not be new to the Berlin Marathon having won it in 2015 with a time of 2:04:00. This was despite running almost three quarters of the race with his insoles flapping off his shoes. He was also in the field in 2013 when Kipsang broke the record and he finished second in 2:04:05.
This year’s Berlin Marathon will be the first Kipchoge is taking part in after his Monza experience. He had taken a month long rest but has now resumed training at his North Rift base, eyes on another milestone.