The two fastest male marathon runners of all time, Patrick Makau and Wilson Kipsang, have signalled their intentions to set a new world record in Berlin. The Kenyan duo, who both set their respective marathon PBs in Germany two years ago, will be looking to lower the 2:03:38 on 29 September.
Since winning in Frankfurt in 2011, Kipsang has gone on to win the 2012 London marathon (in a time of 2:04:44), making him only the second person after Haile Gebrselassie to run three sub 2:05 marathons.
The pair will be aided by pacers throughout, while Kipsang has been given permission to have his training partner, Edwin Kiptoo, run alongside him. On their pursuit of a new record, Kipsang commented: "I can't say how low we intend to reduce the world record. However, if the weather and other factors remain constant, running under the 2:03 mark is very much possible."
The women's field looks likely to be similarly competitive, with Florence Kiplagat, champion in 2011, up against German marathon record-holder Irina Mikitenko. The duo will be up against a series of strong Kenyan runners, including Georgina Rono (2:21:39) and Boston champion Sharon Cherop (2:22:39).
Regarded as the fastest course in the world, this year's race will draw in a field of 40,000 runners in what is its 40th staging. Beginning in the centre of Berlin, the course heads out to the west of the city, before going east past the Reichstag and television tower. The route then leads down to the south west of the city; passing the iconic Kaiser-Willhelm Church and Postdamer Platz. The finishing straight is on one of Berlin's most famous streets, Unter den Linden, with the finish line just through the Brandenburg Gate.
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