Finally, the eagerly awaited battle between the ‘Kings of the Road’ is here and I can’t wait to see how far three of the world’s best road runners can push themselves.
The Berlin race set for September 24 will no doubt be the ‘Marathon of the Year’ with the world record also at stake. While Kenyans’ focus will be on Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge and former world record holder Wilson Kipsang, the recent arrival of Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele has thrown a spanner in the works.
However, despite the Ethiopian opposition, Kenyans are torn between Kipchoge and Kipsang while exuding confidence that the record will definitely return to Kenya. The current record holder is also crossing his fingers hoping that the rivalry between the trio can help his mark of 2:02:57 survive.
However, if you ask me, the writing is on the wall and it is about time. I’m 100 percent convinced that that mark will not survive because anything besides a new record will be a major disappointment for the athletics fraternity.
The fact that all the three runners skipped the World Championships in London last month to prepare for Berlin Marathon means that they are ready not only for the race but something more if not the record. As I said earlier, history favours the Kenyans and the ball is in their court.
Kipchoge starts as the favourite considering he is fresh from attempting the Nike Breaking2 project, which he missed out by 24 seconds at Monza, although his time is not an official world record due to aspects of the event not satisfying IAAF criteria. This came on the back of his victory at the Rio Olympic Games.
He also has the third fastest personal best of 2:03:05.
Kipsang is also up to the task having set a new mark in Berlin in 2013 although his time of 2:03:23 was erased a year later by Kimetto. On a good day, Kipsang is capable of pulling a shocker.
He knows his way around the Berlin course considering the number of years he has run there and all he will need is the conviction that he can actually recapture his record. However, he will have to dig deep to match Kipchoge and Bekele who had stellar track careers.
Whether the three will live up to expectation or a newcomer will snatch the glory remains to be seen, although my prayers are that Kenya retains the record. But if the weather will be right and pacesetters on point, the world record will fall.