8 September 2000 BerlinA year after she won the Berlin Marathon in world record time, Olympic favourite Tegla Loroupe of Kenya stopped off in the German capital today to receive the top award in World road running, the AIMS/ASICS World Athlete of the Year Award, from Berlin Race Director, Horst Milde, in the lead up to this weekend's Berlin Marathon (Sunday 10 September 2000).
Hiroaki Chosa, President of AIMS remarked " Tegla Loroupe has had a superb twelve months, recording many fine performances. Tegla has now won this top award four times which marks her consistency over many years at the top of her sport".
Loroupe wins the award for a record fourth time and follows former winners such as Liz McColgan of Scotland and Uta Pippig of Germany (twice) as female winners of the ASICS Golden Shoe Award.
In her absence from Sunday's Berlin Marathon, the women's title should be decided between a trio who last met at the head of the Prague race in May - the reformed Russian race walker, Alina Ivanova, who won in Prague, the Czech, Alena Peterkova, and Franca Fiacconi of Italy, who won New York in 1998.
They may not approach Loroupe's record of 2hr 20min 43sec, but the men's race might well threaten the world's best of 2.05.42, set by Khalid Khannouchi in Chicago last year.
Spanish record holder, Fabian Roncero is smarting over missing out on his national squad for Sydney, and says he will better 2.07, while Jackson Kabiga of Kenya turned up at today's press conference with '2.06.00' stencilled on his shoes.
So following last week's Golden League final in the 1936 Olympic Stadium, Berlin stays the centre of athletics attraction while the warm-ups go on elsewhere for Sydney.
Presidents and Prime Ministers might go for the occasional media-friendly jog, but Joschka Fischer is the real thing. The German foreign minister who once boasted that he relaxed by "eating and drinking too much," lost a score of kilos a couple of years ago, and ran 3hr 41min 36sec on his marathon debut in Hamburg in 1998.
Fischer followed that with a run in the New York Marathon last year, and goes to the start-line on Sunday, not far from the site of his day job at the new Parliament building, with a personal best in view.
The race is being fully streamed online by the host television broadcaster, and the website is at http://live.berlin-marathon.com