Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang has said he is out to break the two-year-old world record at the Berlin marathon on Sunday.
The 31-year-old Kipsang is aiming to better compatriot Patrick Makau’s record of 2hrs 3mins 38 seconds set in Berlin in 2011 on the notoriously fast course over 42.195km through Germany’s capital.
As one of the world’s top six marathons, the Berlin course is flat and has a reputation amongst the elite runners of being “fast and forgiving”, according to America’s Desiree Davila, who finished second at the 2011 Boston race.
A total of eight marathon world records have been set in Berlin and, having finished within four seconds of Makau’s world record in Frankfurt two years ago, Kipsang has been training to run under the 2:03.38 mark.
“From the start of my training, I was focused on breaking the world record,” said Kipsang, who won the 2012 London marathon in 2:04.40 and finished third over the distance at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
“From my side, the training has been going well, I have run 2:03.32 in training and the time is beatable.”
Kipsang has said he wants a split time of 61.44 mins at the halfway point and is in a strong field of elite runners to help sustain a world-record breaking pace, although Makau is missing with a knee injury.
Ethiopian running legend Haile Gebrselassie is the official starter having won the race four times from 2006 until 2009.
Four men’s world records have been set in Berlin in the last decade including Kenyan Paul Tergat’s 2:04.55 in 2003, and twice by Gebrselassie of 2:04.26 in 2007 and then 2:03.59 in 2008, before Makau shaved 21 seconds off two years ago.
In the main group of Kipsang’s rivals, Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, who won the Hamburg marathon on his debut in April, has said he is looking to better his personal best of 2:05.30.
“My main target is to run under my personal best, but I am ready to go with the best and will keep up,” said the 28-year-old, who will be running only his second marathon.