Kipchoge returns to the Berlin marathon to prepare for the 2024 Olympics

A year after setting a new world record, the Kenyan returns to the German capital five months after his failure in Boston.

Five months after his failure in Boston and less than a year before the challenge of an unprecedented Olympic hat-trick in Paris, the Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge returned on Sunday to the Berlin marathon, his garden where he set his two world records .

“When you are inside a race, anything can happen”Eliud Kipchoge said on Friday before the Berlin marathon (departure at 9:15 a.m. Sunday), without wanting to say more about his chronometric claims in the streets of the German capital, where the threat of action by climate activists looms. “It’s good to be back in Berlin. It’s always like coming home. I look forward”he wrote on his Instagram account mid-week, upon arriving in Berlin, where Kipchoge won four times (2015, 2017, 2018 and 2022).

Renowned for being one of the fastest courses in the world, Berlin has been the scene of the last eight men’s world records over the 42.195 kilometers, with the two most recent being set by Kipchoge in 2018 in 2h01:39, and the year ped in 2h01:09. In 2022, the Kenyan had set an infernal pace by running the first 25 kilometers at a pace of 2:51/km, cherishing the hope of becoming the first man under two hours, an improbable wall that he had broken during an unofficial race in Vienna in October 2019 (1h59:41).

“I learned a lot from last year’s race. But last year was last year. 2023 is different from 2022, with a different approach”estimated Kipchoge two days before the test. “Absolutely, I’m nervous. But the nervousness proves that I am ready for the task that awaits me on Sunday.he added.

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One goal: the Olympic treble

Since his world record, the 38-year-old Kenyan suffered a rare setback in Boston at the end of April 2023, taking only sixth place on a hillier course than in Berlin. “I’m trying to forget what happened in Boston, it’s stuck in my head”he explained to AFP in an interview at his home in Kaptagat, on the Rift Valley plateaus, in mid-June.

On this occasion, he affirmed that after Rio in 2016 and Tokyo in 2021, his “priority” in the coming months was the Olympic hat-trick, a feat that no marathon runner has managed to achieve so far at the Games. With his 2016/2021 double, Kipchoge joined the East German Waldemar Cierpinski (Montreal 1976 and Moscow 1980) and the Ethiopian Abebe Bikila (Rome 1960 and Tokyo 1964) in the history of the discipline.

After the Olympic race, extremely rugged in Paris and its region on August 11, 2024, he will be able to return to his tireless quest to mark the history of the discipline, wishing to add his name to the list of six “major” marathons. Winner in Berlin, London (2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019), Tokyo (2022) and Chicago (2014), he is still missing Boston and New York.

In Berlin on Sunday, the women’s race will offer a very dense field with seven athletes under 2h20, including the Ethiopian Tigst efa (26), who signed the fifth best time in history last year under the Brandenburg Gate. in 2h15:37.

“I think I can run even faster on Sunday, an improvement would be a success”she estimated without wanting to comment on a possible world record, owned by Kenyan Brigid Kosgei since October 2019, in 2h14:04 in Chicago.

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