Eliud Kipchoge and Wilson Kipsang will renew their rivalry at the BMW Berlin Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on 24 September.
Kipchoge, the Olympic champion, will be aiming to break the world record of 2:02:57 set in Berlin by fellow Kenyan Dennis Kimetto in 2014. Kipchoge came within eight seconds of that mark when winning the London Marathon last year in 2:03:05.
He followed that with his triumph at the Olympic Games in Rio and, more recently, he clocked an unratifiable 2:00:25 in a special experimental run on a racetrack in Monza, Italy.
“I was very close to breaking the two-hour barrier in Monza,” said Kipchoge, who won the 2015 Berlin Marathon. “Now I believe the BMW Berlin Marathon is the perfect venue for attacking the official world record.”
Since moving up to the marathon in 2013, the 2003 world 5000m champion has been beaten just once at the distance. Kipsang is the man who handed Kipchoge that defeat, winning at the 2013 Berlin Marathon with what was then a world record of 2:03:23.
Kipchoge gained his revenge 19 months later when winning the 2015 London Marathon, finishing five seconds ahead of Kipsang. And when Kipchoge retained his London Marathon title in 2016, he once again beat Kipsang.
But Kipsang is still a formidable opponent. He clocked a lifetime best of 2:03:13 at last year’s Berlin Marathon and earlier this year won the Tokyo Marathon in a world-leading 2:03:58.
“My motivation is very high,” said Kipsang. “My preparation will be the sharpest ever.”
Cherono vs Kebede
The women’s race will be another battle of former Berlin Marathon winners.
Kenya’s Gladys Cherono won the 2015 Berlin Marathon in a lifetime best of 2:19:25, making her the fastest in this year’s field.
But the 2014 world half-marathon champion will be up against three-time Berlin Marathon winner Aberu Kebede. Following victories in 2010 and 2012, the Ethiopian regained her title last year in 2:20:45, just 15 seconds shy of the PB she set when winning in the German capital four years prior.
Kebede will be joined in Berlin by compatriots Amane Beriso, runner-up in Dubai in 2016, Gulume Tollesa, the 2015 Frankfurt Marathon winner, and Meseret Mengistu, the 2015 Paris Marathon champion.
Kenya’s Valary Aiyabei, winner in Prague this year with a PB of 2:21:57, is another leading contender.
Organisers for the IAAF