Cathal Dennehy wrote this piece on the Men’s Berlin race. With Dennis KImetto, Emmanuel Mutai, Geoffrey Kamworer and Tsegaye Kebede, Berlin has several racers who will meet head on this year.
By Cathal Dennehy
There was no doubt about whom the media glare was focused on at the Berlin Marathon press conference yesterday; it was the man with the fastest time in the race, the man who has asked for a world record pace on Sunday, the man who says if conditions are good, then it’s most certainly on. That man is Dennis Kimetto.
The 30-year-old from Kenya sounded in confident form when asked about his chances of breaking Wilson Kipsang’s record of 2:03:23, which was set in Berlin last year.
“If the conditions are good and the pace is good, then it’s possible to break the world record,” he said. “My shape is as good or better than it was in Chicago last year” [when he ran 2:03:45 for the win].
This will be Kimetto’s second attempt at the Berlin Marathon. In 2012, he finished second behind Wilson Kipsang in 2:04:16, and having had the experience of three more marathons since then, he now feels he has knows the event well enough to take a shot at the world record.
However, Kimetto is unlikely to have it all his own way on Sunday. Also sounding in confident form at yesterday’s press conference was his fellow Kenyan Emmanuel Mutai, who was London marathon champion in 2011 and finished a close runner-up to Kimetto in Chicago last year.
“Preparations have gone very well,” said Mutai. “I have had no problems. It should be a very good day for me on Sunday. When I ran 2:03 in Chicago, I was not expecting the time, but I felt great, and it made me realize 2:03 is possible. I cannot say I am going for the world record; most importantly, it’s to win the race first. I haven’t seen the course yet, but I’ve been studying the map, watched a video of the race, so I’m prepared for it.”
Another likely to be in contention on Sunday is the ever-consistent Tsegaye Kebede, who currently leads the World Marathon Majors rankings for 2013/2014. The 27-year-old Ethiopian makes his Berlin Marathon debut on Sunday, having previously been a champion in London (2010, 2013) and Chicago (2012). He’s looking forward to trying his hand at what is widely considered the fastest course of the major marathons.
“I asked Haile [Gebrselassie] about Berlin, and he told me what a great race it is. Many athletes who run here get a fast time, so I’m looking forward to it.”
An underdog who could spring a surprise on Sunday is Kenya’s Geoffrey Kamworor [formerly Geoffrey Kipsang] who has twice finished third in Berlin. Kamworor has a personal best of 2:06:12, a time he ran at the tender age of 19. Earlier this year, he won the IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships in Copenhagen, running 59:08, and that win has given him the confidence to run with the leaders and challenge for the title this weekend.
“I feel ready for Sunday,” he said “My goal is to win.”