Patrick Makau believes no normal human being can run a sub-two hours and three minutes marathon.
The world marathon record holder predicts that he can stretch his body to a 2:03.10, and no further, and that if the Frankfurt weather holds on Sunday, then he can improve on the world record 2:03.38 he ran at last year’s BMW Berlin Marathon.
The forecast for Sunday is four degrees, rising up to eight, with little chance for wind providing fairly enticing conditions for posting good times, considering that just last weekend, under almost similar chilly temperatures but with fierce winds blowing, Kenya’s Wilson Chebet still managed a course record 2:05.41 at the TCS Amsterdam Marathon.
Makau is by far the star attraction in Sunday’s BMW Frankfurt Marathon which is expected to yield another blistering time after London Olympics bronze medallist Wilson Kipsang last year edged close to Makau’s record, winning in 2:03.42.
Kipsang skips race
Kipsang will not defend his title here, after electing to run in next week’s New York City Marathon.
Makau’s biggest worry is the quality of the pacemaking, pointing out that how the ‘rabbits’ control the race today will determine the possibility of a second world record in as many years on German soil for him.
“A halfway pace of between 61:42 and 62 will help us work on the second half of the race,” Makau thoughtfully said ahead of Sunday’s race in the heart of Germany’s financial capital.
“A lot depends on pacemakers...they must co-operate. If they run too fast, like 61 (minutes in the first 21km) and then the pace goes to 63 or 64, that’s not good for anyone intending to run a good time.”
Pacemaking in any world record attempt matters very much and that’s why Makau has flown in his personal ‘rabbit’ Charles Kithuku Mumo who will pace the lead group, along with Wilfred Kirwa.
Mumo is among a 25-strong team that trains with Makau in Ngong, and the world record holder believes it’s important to have a pacemaker who understands one’s training regime.
He points out that nothing has changed in his training programme compared to the run-up to his world record in Berlin last year, but confesses that he has gone through ‘crazy training’ in Ngong.
Organisers are looking for a 61:40 pace for Makau’s lead group with another Kenyan pacemaker, David Kosgei, detailed to lead the second group through the halfway mark in 63:00.
Gilbert Kirwa, winner here in 2009, has also brought his personal pacemaker, Josephat Kiprono, to improve on his personal best (2:06.14) which he clocked in winning the 2009 race.
Also lined up on Sunday are Kenya’s Albert Matebor, with a personal best 2:05.25 here last year for third place.
The women’s race will be a largely Ethiopian affair, with course record holder (2:21.59 last year) Mamitu Daska defending the title alongside debutants Meselech Melkamu, a former Africa 10,000m champion, and steeplechaser Zemzem Ahmed.
Kenya has 2011 Eindhoven and Hannover Marathon champion Georgina Rono and 2012 Dusseldorf Marathon champion Agnes Jeruto Barsosio.