Paul Kirui wants to break the hour in Berlin
Kenyans hope for fast times at Sunday
2004-04-03Everything is ready for the highest class race in the history of the Bewag BERLIN HALF MARATHON. The Kenyans are certain to fight out the victory among themselves at the 24th edition of the race which will be started on Sunday on the boulevard Unter den Linden (skaters: 10:20 a.m., runners: 10:40 a.m.). The question is only: in what time?
"I think I can run it in under 60 minutes, if the pace is good from the beginning,” announced last year’s champion Paul Kirui at the press conference for the Bewag BERLIN HALF MARATHON. To date, there have only been seven runners who have accomplished this on a regulation course. The 24-year-old Kirui, who is a half marathon specialist but is planning to run his first marathon this year, improved his time this past February to 60:22 minutes. If he can in fact run it in under 60 minutes on Sunday, the course record by the Spaniard Fabián Roncero could be threatened. Roncero won in 2001 in 59:52 minutes. Paul Kirui trained for the Bewag BERLIN HALF MARATHON in Eldoret in the Kenyan highlands.
One other who is capable of a top time is Christopher Cheboiboch. The 26-year-old announced: "I want to improve my personal best time in Berlin." That is currently 60:33 minutes. Much is dependent upon the weather on Sunday. While in the past few years the cool temperatures, wind, and even snow hindered top times, the weather prognosis for Sunday is promising. The wind might pose the only problem.
For the women’s race there will be a duel between last year’s champion Magdaline Chemjor and the course record holder Joyce Chepchumba (both of Kenya). "I am still a little bit tired. But when I see the starting line it will be ok, and then we will see,” said Joyce Chepchumba, who won in her personal best last Sunday at the Lisbon Half Marathon with a time of 68:11 minutes. "I feel very good and I want to win. But the field is especially strong this year, so I will have to be my very best,” said Magdaline Chemjor, whose best time is 69:39 minutes.
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