A great festival of running and one superstar: Paul Tergat
Paul Tergat will have strong company
2003-09-22A number of records have already been broken before the start of the 30th real,- BERLIN MARATHON, which will be a big festival of running. In time for the jubilee race there are two major changes: The finish will be at Brandenburg Gate, Germanys most famous landmark. A record number of 44.931 athletes from 91 nations have entered the race, which is Germanys most prestigious road race.
35,000 runners, 193 walkers and 126 wheelchair athletes will all start their races on Sunday morning (runners and walkers at 9 am, wheelchairs at 8.45 am) on Straße des 17. Juni. Additionally the 30th real,- BERLIN MARATHON will be a true two day event for the first time, since 9,612 inline skaters will start their race on Saturday at 4 pm on Straße des 17. Juni. Berlin will have the biggest skater marathon in the world. Additionally 6,700 children will participate in the real,- MINI MARATHON on Sunday. This race will be started at 8.50 am at Potsdamer Platz. The finish will be at the Brandenburg Gate as well. So all together even 51,631 athletes will compete at the event.
“With our new course we will present Berlin to the world“, race organiser Horst Milde said. While the new route has kept the sights of the former course like Kurfürstendamm with the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, there are more landmarks included now: The Bundeskanzleramt (seat of the German chancellor), the Reichstag, which houses the German parliament or the Gendarmenmarkt are some examples.
There is also good news for the serious and elite runners: the new course will be as flat and fast as the old one was. It was in Berlin where Naoko Takahashi (Japan) became the first woman to break the 2:20 barrier. In 2001 the Olympic Champion ran 2:19:46. To have another world record at the jubilee race would is a dream for the organisers. And it is the aim for this years top entrant: Paul Tergat, Kenyans running hero has chosen the real,- BERLIN MARATHON for an attempt at the world record.
The 34-year-old Kenyan is already the second fastest marathon runner in history. But although he has run 2:05:48 minutes, which is only ten seconds away from the world record, Tergat has never won a marathon so far. He has run five marathons before, getting three second and two fourth places.
Clearly Paul Tergat is the fastest runner ever to start in the real,- BERLIN MARATHON. He still holds the world record for the half marathon with 59:17 and has hold the 10,000 m world record (26:27,85 minutes) in 1997. Paul Tergat, who has won a record five World Cross Country Championships from 1995 to 1999, has become famous for his great races against Haile Gebrselassie.
In his chase for a world record Paul Tergat will have strong company. Also entered is his training compatriot Raymond Kipkoech. He will start with the number 1 as the Kenyan has won the real,- BERLIN MARATHON last year in a superb time of 2:06:47. Among the pacemakers will be another of Tergats training partners, Boniface Usisivu. The Kenyan was fourth in last years real,- BERLIN MARATHON in 2:07:50.
In comparison the womens race will not be as strong as the mens. Unfortunately hopes for a German win have been dashed a week before the start. Sonja Oberem (Bayer Leverkusen), who was third in last years European Championships, has had to withdraw due to injury. Kathrin Weßel, whose club is SCC Berlin, which is behind the organisation of the real,- BERLIN MARATHON, will run this race for the third time in a row. Last year she became the German champion and the year before she was third with a personal best of 2:28:27. She hopes to run another personal best in Berlin but should be no contender for first place.
Instead there is a chance for Japan to make it four in a row after victories for Kazumi Matsuo and Naoko Takahashi (2001 and 2002). Yasuko Hashimoto could be in to continue the win streak. But there are a number of others to watch: Alina Ivanova (Russia), the former world walking champion who turned to running after being disqualified in the Olympics 1992 after crossing the line first, Renata Paradowska (Poland) or Ornella Ferrara (Italy). Liz Yelling could be in for a surprise. The British runner will run her debut in Berlin. She is a training partner of Paula Radcliffe.
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