The Bewag BERLIN HALF MARATHON will once more be Germany’s first big
international road race this year. For many athletes it will be a decisive test
for one of the big spring marathons in April like Boston or London. Altogether
about 17,500 participants are expected in Berlin. Among them not only runners
but also inline skaters, power walkers and wheelchair athletes plus pupils who
will run the 3.5 k Bewag FUN-RUN. Among the runners there are the two winners
from last year: Paul Kirui and Magdaline Chemjor.
Concerning the organisation of Germany’s biggest half marathon there
are two major changes. First of all the Bewag BERLIN HALF MARATHON will feature
a new start and finish area which will be much more attractive. It is located
next to the Schloßplatz in the heart of the city. Just before running
into the finish athletes will pass the Berlin Cathedral and the Lustgarten. For
the first time the Bewag BERLIN HALF MARATHON fair will be staged at the
fairground around the Funkturm. It will now have the same venue as the BERLIN
VITAL on the days before the real,- BERLIN-MARATHON. The new fair will be
called BERLIN VITAL Frühjahr (spring). It will now have a similar standard
as the marathon fair with a lot of service. Sports medicine will be a focal
point of the BERLIN VITAL Frühjahr.
These two changes were necessary because of the development of the race. It
is just five years ago that less than 4,000 athletes took part in the event.
But then figures started growing enormously. Last year 16,194 athletes entered
the Bewag BERLIN HALF MARATHON. Another 1,498 runners participated in the Bewag
FUN-RUN. Meanwhile the Bewag BERLIN HALF MARATHON is as big as the real,-
BERLIN-MARATHON was just seven years ago.
Concerning the elite athletes the race developed fine as well. It is
Fabián Roncero who still holds the European record for the half
marathon. Three years ago he in Berlin clocking 59:52 minutes. That showed that
the course of the Bewag BERLIN HALF MARATHON is a very fast one as well.
While there were a number of very fast times set by the men the women have
to catch up. That might well happen on 4th April since the women’s field
is the strongest ever in the history of the race. While Magdaline Chemjor will
try to defend her title she will face tough opposition. Joyce Chepchumba, who
still is the course record holder with 68:22 minutes (2000), has entered the
race as well. The Kenyan is the bronze medal winner from the Olympic marathon
in Sydney in 2000. She has won marathons in London, New York, Chicago and Tokyo
during her career and has a personal half marathon best of 68:11.
In the men’s race Paul Kirui will be the favourite again. The half
marathon has become his best event. And after winning in Berlin a year ago in
61:05 he has meanwhile improved to 60:22. It is this time which puts him on the
number one spot of the world lists this year (Rodgers Rop ran faster in Lisbon,
but the course drops by 40 metres). Kirui won the Ostia Half Marathon near
Rome. In Berlin he will try to further improve this time. Kirui belongs to the
training group of the Italian manager Dr. Gabriele Rosa. The star of this group
is Paul Tergat, who broke the world record in the real,- BERLIN MARATHON last
But Kirui will face tough opposition as well. Christopher Cheboiboch is
among a number of strong Kenyan entries. He finished second at the Boston and
New York marathon races in 2002. Cheboiboch has a half marathon best time of
60:33 minutes. Anything else than another Kenyan triumph in Berlin would be a