Could this weekend mark the end of Dennis Kimetto’s world marathon record of two hours, two minutes and 57 seconds?
This is the question on everyone’s lips as two of Kenya’s finest— Eliud Kipchoge and Wilson Kipsang—go head-to-head, once again, in Berlin Marathon this Sunday.
I am anxious too, knowing what the two gentlemen are capable of.
Kipchoge, who is Olympic champion, is plotting to dip under his personal best of 2:03:23 and this could as well mean a world record.
The beauty is that the Kipchoge has been lowering his Berlin Marathon time since his first appearance in 2013 when he clocked 2:04:05.
He ran in 2:04:00 in 2015 and further lowered the time to 2:03:32 last year, after running his PB 2:03:05 in London.
His training routine leaves no doubt about his ambition of not only running world record but also becoming the first athlete to run under two hours.
From where I sit, I believe this is possible if his past record is anything to go by. If Kipchoge wins, he will become the second runner to grab the Berlin title thrice after Ethiopia’s Haile Gebreslassie.
Kipsang can equally not be ruled out.
This is one man who is full of surprises and by virtue of being the former world record holder, he definitely knows what it takes to break the current mark.
Kipsang will be in seeking to reclaim the world record he held after running 2:03.23 in 2013, bettering the time previously set by Kenyan compatriot Patrick Makau by five seconds. Kipsang has won four World Marathon Majors titles, London (2012 and 2014), Berlin (2013), New York City (2014) and Tokyo (2017).
He also boasts of being the only man to run sub 2:04 four times. Apart from him, three other Kenyans in Paul Tergat (2003), Patrick Makau (2011) and Dennis Kimetto (2014) have broken the world record on the Berlin Marathon course.
As such, Sunday’s race will provide Kipsang an opportunity to join Gebrselassie in the exclusive club of shattering the barrier twice.
However, he must be wary of Kipchoge.
Their most recent meeting took place on the same course a year ago where Kipchoge prevailed, emerging winner in 2:03:32 with Kipsang dropping out at the 30-kilometre mark due to a stomach problem.
Besides the two, we have other Kenyans Eliud Kiptanui and Amos Kipruto as well as Ethiopia’s Abera Kuma and you never know how they wake up on the day.
I can’t wait for the for this race and I wouldn’t care who wins as long as he is a Kenyan.
A world record will equally give me more joy.
I know in the Rift Valley, we will be gathering at various points, including the Bank of Africa-sponsored "viewerthon" session in Iten!