Kenensia Bekele to go for Kipchoge’s record
Amos Abuga and Ericson Kiprono
Former world record holder in both 5,000m and 10,000m Kenensia Bekele will be out to make a point as the greatest distance runner in history when he lines up at the BMW Berlin Marathon on Sunday.
At least 25,000 runners will take part in the 47th edition of the marathon to be aired live on K24.
Bekele who missed the world record by just two seconds with his top time of 2:01:41 hours at the same course in 2019 will definitely be on a mission in the Germany Capital.
The three-time Olympic champion and five-time world outdoor champion will be capitalising on the absence of record holder Eliud Kipchoge who recently defended his Olympic title in Tokyo, Japan as he goes for history.
Since 2014, Kipchoge has beaten Bekele in all four of their marathon duels including their most recent marathon in London in 2018, where Kipchoge ran 2:04:17 for the win and Bekele faded back to 2:08:53 for sixth place.
So when Bekele lines up for the race on Sunday, it will be the first time since 2004 that he will not be introduced as the world record holder in the 5,000m metres or 10,000m.
The Kenyan team is led by Eliud Kiptanui with a best time of 2:05.21 set at the same course when he finished second in 2015.
Others are Philemon Kacheran (2:06.05) Festus Talam (2:06.13), Michael Njenga(2:06.43) and debutant Benard Kimeli.
Bekele is not the not the only Ethiopian with ambitions of winning.
In 2017, his compatriot Guye Adola finished second at the race on the Spree River with an excellent time of 2:03:46 hours for his debut marathon, posing a real challenge for the winner, Eliud Kipchoge is in the mix.
Completing the Ethiopian triumvirate is Olika Adugna, who is only 22. He surprised everyone in his first full Marathon debut competition on the streets of Dubai with a victory in 2:06:15 hours, signaling to the established long-distance running world that there is promise of more to come.
The Japanese are showing up with a squad of strong athletes, led by 2021 Lake Biwa Marathon winner Hidekazu Hijikata.
If the Japanese athlete can repeat his performance from the spring, he also has a chance at a podium spot.
From a national perspective, a well-known Berlin frequent starter is worth a look.
In recent weeks, Philipp Pflieger has repeatedly spoken about his hard-work collaborating with coach Renato Canova. Now Pflieger wants to put his words into action.