WATCH THE 2017 BERLIN MARATHON LIVE ON FLOTRACK
The race will be Kipchoge's first test on the roads since his 2:00:25 'lab run' sponsored by Nike on the Monza circuit in Italy, while Bekele and Kipsang are both coming off career best marathons in Berlin one year ago, setting the No. 2 and No. 5 legal times in history. With its tradition of great weather and excellent pacers combined with the fastest course of all the World Marathon Majors -- with fewer turns than the Breaking2 attempt -- the stars have never been more aligned for someone to break Dennis Kimetto's 2:02:57 official world record mark.
What makes the three headliners of the Berlin field so special is not their raw talent -- though all three certainly have that, with Bekele being the current track 5K and 10K world record-holder -- but the fact that they perform their best when competing against each other. The trio has only ever raced over the marathon distance once before in history -- at the 2016 London Marathon -- and that race yielded a 2:03:05 course record that was, at the time, the second-fastest legal marathon in history, just 8 seconds behind the world record clocking set at Berlin in 2014. Any marathon pundit would tell you that the flat roads of Berlin are more than eight seconds faster than the twisty London course, and this September those pundits will have their chance to be proven right.
Despite his 2:00:25 time in the Nike test run, pre-race favorite Kipchoge has never been hungrier to break the official world record to go along with his asterisked mark.
Kipchoge said of the race, "In Monza I was so close to breaking the two-hour barrier. The BMW Berlin Marathon represents for me the right opportunity to attack the official world record."
The last time Bekele and Kipsang dueled on the roads was at last year's edition of Berlin, where Bekele famously resurrected his career with a blazing last 10K to run the second-fastest time in history. But Bekele could not have done it without Kipsang pushing him the entire latter half of the race, in what many dubbed the greatest marathon duel of all time. Kipsang surely could not walk away disappointed with his 2:03:13 PB in second place, and both athletes will be looking to improve those all-time marks at the 2017 edition of the race.
TOP TEN FASTEST BERLIN TIMES IN HISTORY:
1. 2:02:57, Dennis Kimetto, 2014
2. 2:03:03, Kenenisa Bekele, 2016
T3. 2:03:13, Emmanuel Mutai, 2014
T3. 2:03:13, Wilson Kipsang, 2016
5. 2:03:23, Wilson Kipsang, 2013
6. 2:03:38, Patrick Makau, 2011
7. 2:03:59, Haile Gebrselassie, 2008
8. 2:04:00, Eliud Kipchoge, 2015
9. 2:04:05, Eliud Kipchoge, 2013
10. 2:04:15, Geoffrey Mutai, 2012
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