Three-time Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia, would be aiming at making marathon history in the German capital, Berlin, this weekend.
The 35-year-old, who is the reigning champion and world record holder over 5,000 and 10,000m will go into the title defense with the extra motivation of breaking a marathon record set in 2014. Incidentally, he started running marathons in the year that the record was set.
He missed out on the world record by six seconds in 2016 after completing his race in a time of 2:03:03. The record time of 2:02:57 set in 2014 is held by Kenya’s Dennis Kimetto.
“60 minutes 45 seconds is not my plan. I want to follow the leaders if I can. But I will not be stressed by it and will listen to my body.”
If he manages to beat the time and by that set a world record, he would become the first man to hold the marathon, 5,000 metres and 10,000 metre records simultaneously.
“I think I can run better than last year,” said Bekele, who beat former world record holder Kenya’s Kipsang in Berlin last year. Adding that “60 minutes 45 seconds is not my plan. I want to follow the leaders if I can. But I will not be stressed by it and will listen to my body.”
Bekele’s main competition will be from two Kenyans, Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge who is attempting a sub-two hour race and Wilson Kipsang – who came in second last year.
Kipchoge, who has the third-fastest personal best time of two hours, three minutes and five seconds, is keen to break the two-hour barrier and set a world record which currently stands at two hours, two minutes, 57 seconds.
The 32-year-old came close during the Nike Breaking2 project, when he missed out by 24 seconds at Monza, though his time is not an official world record due to aspects of the event not satisfying IAAF criteria.