Kenyans chase world-class times in the Vattenfall Berlin Half Marathon
Evans Cheruiyot, Benita Johnson, Edith Masai, Irina Mikitenko and Patrick Makau (from left to right)
© Camera 4
The Vattenfall Berlin Half Marathon has all the makings of a high-class race when it gets underway along the avenue of Unter den Linden at 1045 on Sunday. A host of leading internationals will be among the expected record turn-out of 21,000 participants.
“I want to clock 58 minutes on Sunday,” said Patrick Makau Musyoki.The Kenyan is the fastest man in the field. In February he improved to run 59:13 in finishing second in the Half Marathon in Ras Al Khaimah (UAE) and that performance made the 22-year-old the fastest runner on the start list. What’s more, he is only six seconds short of the course record of 59:07 set by Paul Kosgei (Kenya) in 2006. Asked whether he’s going for the current world record of 58:35, Patrick Makau Musyoki replied: “Maybe. I think that if the Kenyans work together and help each other, we could run very fast.” Four Kenyans with personal bests under 61 minutes will be on the start line in Berlin.
Patrick Makau Musyoki should feel at home in Berlin, having already won the 25 km race in 2006. However his compatriot Evans Cheruiyot should know the actual course better, having finished second in 59:26 last year. “I’m in the same form as last year. Running on my own, I know I won’t be able to run 58 minutes but if we work for each other, it could happen,” Cheruiyot said.
Edith Masai is also optimistic about Sunday’s race. The Kenyan winner of last year’s women’s race in a course record (67:16) explained: “I feel as strong as I did last year, I might even run faster.” She might have to, in order to beat Benita Johnson (Australia). “I’m going well. The Australian half-marathon record is the only one (of the distance records) I don’t have and my aim is to break it.” It stands at 67:48.
The German woman most likely to produce the strongest performance is also going for a personal best: Irina Mikitenko (TV Wattenscheid) has been concentrating on the longer distances on the road for more than a year: “I definitely want to run under 70 minutes,” said Mikitenko, whose fastest time to-date is 70:03.
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