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World Marathon record holder Patrick Makau will face formidable opposition at the BMW Frankfurt Marathon on 28 October, organisers announced today.
Ethiopians Yemane Tsegay and Bazu Worku along with Kenyans Albert Matebor and Gilbert Kirwa have been added to the field of this IAAF Gold Label Road Race. The four could provide the challenge Makau will need to further challenge his own World record.
"I have seen the course today and it looks very good," Makau said at a press conference in Frankfurt today. A year ago he broke the World record clocking 2:03:38 in Berlin. On that occasion the Kenyan also beat the previous record holder Haile Gebrselassie. "If everything is perfect on race day – my form, the weather and the pacemaking – then a world record might be possible."
After being omitted from Olympic selection the 27-year-old Makau will now be eager to prove something with a very good race. "So far my training went very well. I had no problems or injuries and the form is similar to last year. But of course a lot of training and especially speedwork is still to come in the weeks ahead."
Leading the opposition will be Tsegay whose personal best is just 70 seconds slower than that of the World record holder. The 27-year-old Ethiopian is likely to follow any pace in Frankfurt. Tsegay, who was fourth in the 2009 World Championships' Marathon in Berlin, has improved his personal best twice this year. First he ran 2:06:29 in Dubai in January and then made a major step when taking April's Rotterdam Marathon in 2:04:48. Tsegay crossed the line just one second ahead of fellow-Ethiopian Getu Feleke and by coincidence clocked exactly the same time as Makau when he had won the Rotterdam Marathon two years earlier.
Matebor and Worku both feature identical personal bests of 2:05:25. Matebor produced a great race in Frankfurt in 2011, when he finished third with this personal best. It will be already his third race in the German financial capital. In 2007 was fifth with 2:09:33. For Worku it will be his first Frankfurt appearance. The former World junior best holder in the Marathon (2:06:15, Paris 2009) ran his personal best in Berlin two years ago when he finished a strong third in driving rain behind Makau and fellow Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai.
Besides Matebor there is another world-class Kenyan returning in Kirwa who won in Frankfurt in 2009 with 2:06:14, at that time a course record. That time remains his personal best. After prolonged injury problems Kirwa this year came back with a fourth place in the Vienna City Marathon in April (2:08:09). He will now hope to be back at his best in Frankfurt.
The very top of the men’s elite race will be the best in the history of Germany’s oldest city Marathon, which will see its 31st edition.
"It is a very strong field. But I am generally not looking at any particular rivals. I always respect all the other runners in a competition," Makau said.