All eyes will be on Eliud Kipchoge, the double Olympic and world record holder for the marathon, as he returns to where he set the world record and to one of his favorite marathon courses this weekend. He will be aiming to win a fourth title in the event, which will put him equal with Ethiopia’s Haile Gebrselassie; and possibly run another fast time in the process.
However, a repeat of the 2017 battle between Kipchoge and Guye Adola could happen again this weekend at the Berlin Marathon. The struggle ensued after the pacers maintained a world record schedule despite the rainy weather and the slippery road crossing the midway in 1:01:29, which was still 15 seconds faster than Dennis Kimetto’s time used while going for the then world record of 2:02:57.
Adola, at that time, seemed to have come out of nowhere as the pre-race conversations were mainly on Wilson Kipsang, Kenenisa Bekele, and Kipchoge.
During the race, Kipsang pulled out at 30km after remaining with Kipchoge and Adola at the front. Bekele, already behind at 22k, also eventually pulled out at the 30km mark. Adola attempted to break away from Kipchoge at around 38km. Still, Kipchoge had closed the gap again before pulling away in the last kilometer of the race to win in 2:03:32. Adola had come second in 2:03:46, which was the fastest debut time ever in a marathon.
This time, Adola is returning as a defending champion and the second fastest on the start list.
“I’m delighted to be running the BMW Berlin Marathon again and in defense of my title. I always have good feelings about the race in Berlin because it was where I made my debut at the distance, and it’s still my personal best. My aim is to run under 2:03,” said Adola.
But, by far, Kipchoge has a lot of experience and stories from the Berlin Marathon more than any other runner in the field since he first finished 2nd in 2013 behind Kipsang, who ran a world record to beat him before coming back to win in 2015, 2017 and 2018.
Kipchoge won the 2015 race in a then personal best time of 2:04:00 under one of the most challenging circumstances in which he finished the race with blisters and even some blood on his feet after his shoes had malfunctioned and the insoles had hanged out of them from as early as 10km into the race. Arguably, many other runners would have just pulled out of the race. That was the first time his fans had talked about a missed opportunity for him to break the world record, given the fantastic time he ran despite the problem. No one knows how fast he would have run had he been in some comfortable shoes.
Without the discomfort of malfunctioning shoes and a rainy and slippery road, 2018 finally offered a perfect chance for Kipchoge to achieve what he had been hoping to; he set a new world record.
If we have another perfect weather this weekend, Kipchoge could pull another outstanding performance.
Another runner to watch out for will be Kenya’s Bethwel Yegon, who finished second behind Adola in 2021.
It will also be interesting to see the Japanese runners slowly coming up to dominate the marathon distance soon as there are eleven of them out of the 32 elite men in the race.
Here is the list of the elite men for the 2022 Berlin Marathon
- Eliud Kipchoge KEN 2:01:39
- Guye Adola ETH 2:03:46
- Ghirmay Ghebreslassie ERI 2:05:34
- Dejene Debela Gonfa ETH 2:05:46
- Mark Korir KEN 2:05:49
- Oqbe Kibrom ERI 2:05:53
- Ashenafi Moges ETH 2:06:12
- Tadu Abate Deme ETH 2:06:13
- Bethwell Yegon KEN 2:06:14
- Awet Habte ERI 2:06:25
- Ryu Takaku JPN 2:06:45
- Limenih Getachew ETH 2:06:47
- Hiroto Inoue JPN 2:06:47
- Alex Kibet KEN 2:07:09
- Zablon Chumba KEN 2:07:18
- Kenya Sonota JPN 2:07:23
- Kento Kikutani JPN 2:07:26
- Kazuki Muramoto JPN 2:07:36
- Tadashi Isshiki JPN 2:07:39
- Atsumi Ashiwa JPN 2:07:54
- Daisuke Doi JPN 2:08:13
- Rintaro Takeda JPN 2:08:48
- Yuki Matsumura JPN 2:09:01
- Byambajay Tseveenravdan MGL 2:09:03
- Tatsuya Maruyama JPN 2:09:36
- Abel Kipchumba KEN 2:09:39
- Stephen Scullion IRE 2:09:49
- Peter Herzog AUT 2:10:06
- Sebastian Hendel GER Debüt
- Haftom Weldaj GER 2:13:47
- Frank Schauer GER 2:14:43
- Erik Hille GER 2:15:04