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Three world-class Kenyans at the start in Berlin, Yoko Shibui hopes to continue the Japanese series of victories

2004-09-06

The will be an extraordinarily strong elite field at the start of the real,- BERLIN MARATHON on September 26. Among the 35,000 runners there will be three Kenyans with world-class best times of under 2:07 hours. This will be the first time in the history of the real,- BERLIN-MARATHON, which last year produced the standing world record through the 2:04:55 finish by Paul Tergat (Kenya), that there will be such a cluster of top athletes of that level of excellence. “We are pleased to be able to present such a strong men’s field one year after Paul Tergat’s world record, despite the proximity to the Olympic Games, where naturally many top marathon runners participated,” said race director Mark Milde.

The fastest marathon runner of the year will also be participating in Berlin: Felix Limo won the Rotterdam Marathon in April in 2:06:14h, but was not nominated for the Olympics by the Kenyan association. Titus Munji, who made the pace for Paul Tergat last year at the real,- BERLIN MARATHON and came in third in 2:06:15h, had a time only one second slower than Limo. In the ranking of the best marathon runners of all time, Limo and Munji lie in 6th and 7th place. In addition, Wilson Onsare will also be starting on September 26th. He came in third last year at the Paris Marathon in 2:06:47h. With Shinichi Watanabe (best time: 2:09:55h) and Michitane Noda (2:09:58h), there will be two Japanese runners to watch out for.

The women’s favourite is once again Japan: Yoko Shibui is the third fastest marathon runner in her country. Due to the great competition, she was not nominated for Athens. In 2002, Shibui, who is now 25, improved her time to 2:21:22h in Chicago. Japanese runners have won the women’s race a the real,- BERLIN MARATHON the past four years. A second strong Japanese runner is also in the field: Hiromi Ominami. She came in second last year at the Rotterdam Marathons in 2:26:17h and hopes to markedly improve her time at the real,- BERLIN MARATHON .

There will also be a meeting of strong German female runners in Berlin. Sonja Oberem (Bayer Leverkusen) hopes to undercut her German best time of the year of 2:30:58 at the real,- BERLIN MARATHON and prove that it was a mistake not to nominate her for the Olympics. Kathrin Weßel (SCC Berlin), the best German long-distance runner of all times, plans on ending her long career with a ”home game“ at the real,- BERLIN MARATHON. And the 23-year-old Romy Spitzmüller (LAZ Leipzig), a young German runner, hopes to considerably improve her best time of 2:32:23h.


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