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Focus on Kenyans Limo and Rutto

Series of hot autumn marathon races starts next Sunday in Berlin / Will Paul Tergat’s marathon world record come under threat?

2004-09-19

Next Sunday’s real,- BERLIN MARATHON will mark the start of a series of high class autumn marathon races. Two weeks later the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon (10th October) will follow. And on 7th November the New York City Marathon will be started. These three races traditionally form the highlights of the autumn races.

Berlin and Chicago
Concerning the results of the elite runners in recent years Berlin and Chicago were in the centre of the focus. Looking back for a couple of years no other marathons worldwide produced such high quality races as Berlin and Chicago. It is no coincidence that these two are leading the list of the fastest men’s marathons. Chicago is number with 2:06:19,5, but Berlin is less than a second behind (2:06:20,2). These times are the average of the ten fastest individual results of each race.

More than 35,000 runners were allowed to enter this year’s real,- BERLIN MARATHON. As in Chicago and New York the limit was reached many weeks before the start. Felix Limo will be among the top contenders of next Sunday’s race in Berlin. The Kenyan has run the fastest time so far this year (2:06:14). He had won in Rotterdam despite a partially strong wind. He will run his third marathon in Berlin. Should the conditions be fine once again he could run another personal best. And it remains to be seen how fast that could be on a course where Paul Tergat had broken the world record last year (2:04:55).

Three more runners with personal bests of sub 2:07 have entered this year’s real,- Berlin Marathon: Kenyans Raymond Kipkoech, Wilson Onsare und Fred Kiprop all have exactly the same personal best of 2:06:47. In the women’s race it looks pretty much as if the Japanese will be able to continue their win streak which started back in 2000. Yoko Shibui looks to be the favourite here. She has a personal best of 2:21:22 and is said to try to break Naoko Takahashi’s course record of 2:19:46. This still is the Japanese record as well. With Hiromi Ominami there will be another strong Japanese women runner.

The entry limit of the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon was 40,000 this year. This race will feature last year’s winner Evans Rutto. The 26 year-old might well be Kenya’s strongest marathon runner at present. But neither he nor Felix Limo had been nominated by the Kenyan officials for the Olympic marathon. There are insiders of the sport who believe that Evans Rutto would have had a very good chance of winning Olympic gold in Athens. Rutto had beaten the Olympic Champion Stefano Baldini (Italy) by more than two minutes in the London Marathon this spring. Despite a very bad fall at 36 k Rutto had clocked 2:06:18 in London. The Kenyan is coached by Uta Pippig’s former coach Dieter Hogen. A year ago he ran a sensational marathon debut in Chicago. With a time of 2:05:50 it was the fastest marathon debut ever – neither Paul Tergat nor Haile Gebrselassie or Khalid Khannouchi have achieved such a time at once. Rutto’s average time of two marathons is phenomenal: 2:06:04!

In Chicago Evans Rutto will be up against his training partner Paul Koech (Kenya) and the former world record holder Khalid Khannouchi (US), who has won in Chicago already four times. If the weather is fine the world record might well be under threat.

With a finishing number of 34,729 runners the New York City Marathon was the biggest last year. In 2003 the women produced some great results. Margaret Okayo (Kenya) ran a new course record of 2:22:31. A superb time taking into account that the slightly hilly course is not easy to run. This time the men’s race could be the main attraction again. Timothy Cherigat, the winner of the Boston Marathon, is among the favourites. He belongs to Dieter Hogen’s group as well. The Berlin coach also sends Bob Kennedy (US) and John Yuda (Tansania) into this race. They will meet the Olympic marathon silver medallist Mebrahtom Keflezighi (US).


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