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News Archive

Record entry and a superstar

With altogether 41,376 entries from 90 nations this year’s real,- BERLIN

MARATHON has set yet another record. And in fact there has never been a bigger

marathon worldwide. But of course among the Berlin field there will be 8,369

inline skaters. 32,752 athletes will be running – and among them will be

a superstar of international athletics: Naoko Takahashi.

It was last year in Berlin that the Japanese runner became the first woman

to run a sub 2:20 marathon. Naoko Takahashi smashed a barrier in athletics,

when she reached the finish line on Tauentzienstraße in a time of 2:19:46

hours. For about two decades the most prominent women long distance runners had

tried to reach a sub 2:20 time for the classic distance of 42,195 k. But it was

Naoko Takahashi who succeeded first.

Meanwhile there are two more athletes who have beaten the barrier. And it

was just one week after Berlin when Catherina Ndereba of Kenya bettered Naoko

Takahashi’s world record. She won the Chicago marathon in 2:18:47 being

almost a minute faster than Takahashi in Berlin. „But it helped me a lot

that Naoko Takahashi had beaten the barrier a week before in Berlin“,

Catherine Ndereba said afterwards. It has happened before in athletics that

faster times or better results were achieved after a barrier had finally

fallen. And although Naoko Takahashi lost her world record so unexpectedly

quick she has secured her place in athletics history. The Japanese will always

be remembered as the first women to have run sub 2:20. This year

Britain’s Paula Radcliffe became the third women to break that time. In

her debut marathon she won London in a sensational time of 2:18:56. While

Ndereba and Radcliffe will run Chicago in October, Takahashi has opted for

Berlin once more.

But it is not sure if Naoko Takahashi will be in the same sort of superb

form she was in last year. After Berlin last year she has not run another

marathon because of injury problems. For the last couple of weeks she trained

in high altitude in Boulder (Colorado). It is the same preparation scheme as

last year before she came to Berlin. „I am very happy to be able to come

back to Berlin. I liked the city, the organisation of the marathon and the

people. And I just hope I will be able to enthuse the spectators once more with

a very good performance – although my form will probably be not quite as

good as last year“, Takahashi said.

It is the first time since 1994 that both real,- BERLIN MARATHON champions

will turn up again to defend their titles. In the men’s race Joseph

Ngolepus had upset the favourites last year. Entered as a pacemaker he ran the

whole race and won. The Kenyan ran a personal best of 2:08:47 hours. Based in

Detmold Joseph Ngolepus belongs to Volker Wagner’s group. The athletes of

the German manager have won the BERLIN MARATHON various times since the

eighties. And Ngolepus is a training partner of Wagner’s stars Tegla

Loroupe (Kenya) and track-runner Berhane Adere (Ethiopia).

But besides Naoko Takahashi and Joseph Ngolepus there will be more real,-

BERLIN MARATHON champions in the race. Kenya’s Simon Biwott could well be

the number one favorite. He had won the real,- BERLIN MARATHON two years ago by

just five seconds in front of Spain’s Antonio Pena. Biwott then became

prominent, when he missed the World Championship gold medal by just one second

in Edmonton in 2001. In the closest finish the marathon has seen in an Olympic

or World Championship event, the Olympic Champion Gezahegne Abera (Ethiopia)

won in 2:12:42 hours.

The man who still holds the real,- BERLIN MARATHON course record has also

joined this year’s elite field: Ronaldo da Costa, who set a totally

unexpected world record in 1998, clocking 2:06:05, will be back. The Brazilian

has never shown a race in a similar quality afterwards. But his achievement in

Berlin in 1998 was enough to make him a very prominent person in Brazil. And

another prominent name to run Berlin is Moses Tanui, who has a personal best of

2:06:16, when he was second in Chicago in 1999.

 

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