I have to admit, that I love Justin’s article. Justin Lagat got it! Kenenisa Bekele is back! He is thinner, fitter and his race showed focus and maturity. Kenenisa Bekele wants the marathon WR to go with his 5000m and 10,000m WR. I was there in Paris in 2014, when Kenenisa ran his 2:05.20 debut. But, he did not respect tha marathon. Jos Herrmans, his agent, noted that.
Kenenisa Bekele had been hit by modern day worries: business woes, family needs, and running became les important. Jos Hermans seems to have gotten Kenenisa Bekele to pull his proverbial head out, and focus.
2:01.41 is exciting.
Kenenisa Bekele, thanks for showing that you still want it.
At around the 32km point, Birhanu Legese dropped a 2:48/km pace and maintained such a hard pace that saw Bekele drop back from the leading pack of three. Sisay Lemma, the other runner in the leading pack, soon struggled to keep up with the leader too and began a gap open between them. Given his recent record of dropping out of the Berlin marathon in 2017, the Dubai marathon in 2017, and at the Amsterdam marathon last year with less than two kilometers to the finish line, it appeared as though Bekele was just about to have another bad day.
However, at around the 36 km into the race, Bekele looked recharged. He soon overtook Lemma and began chasing down Legese at the front. He moved to the opposite side of the road as he approached Legese and rapidly overtook him as though the latter was standing.
At 40km, Bekele was eleven seconds out of the world record schedule, but running so strongly. It was getting exciting. It was one of those moments that one would easily throw anything at anyone who blocked their view from watching the screen. He seemed to know that the world record was within his reach, if only he pushed harder, the crowds beside the road and even the race marshals on bikes were urging him on.
After crossing the Brandenburg Gate, it was not yet clear whether he was going to break the world record or not and it was becoming an intense moment as fans counted down the remaining seconds before Bekele could cross the finish line. It was so close! He crossed the finish line in 2:01.41, just two seconds shy of the world record. Perhaps Eliud Kipchoge knew exactly what he was doing when he had moved the world record from 2:02.57 to 2:01.39. Legese followed to take second in 2:02.48 while Lemma crossed the finish line in 2:03.36 for the third position.
The conversation about Kenenisa Bekele, who holds the world records in the 5000m and 10,000m races, is the three times Olympic Champion, five times world champion and eleven times world cross country champion, among other achievements, being the greatest runner of all time had almost faded. Eliud Kipchoge, who is arguably the greatest marathon runner of all time at the moment, was slowly beginning to replace Bekele in competing for this perceived title with Haile Gebrselassie. But, today Bekele just showed up again and made his intentions known that he is still here to do more.