The BMW Frankfurt Marathon one of Germany’s highest-quality road races, and even by its own high standards, this year’s running promises to be memorable.
Organizers announced earlier this week that the race, set for Sunday, October 27, will bring together 21 male marathoners who’ve broken 2:10, and five of those athletes have PRs of 2:05:30 or faster.
The field is nearly as impressive on the women’s side, as eight competitors arrive with personal bests of 2:25 and below. A total of 10 have finished in 2:30 or less.
“Despite the World Championships this summer, we were able to put together a very good field,” race director Jo Schindler told IAAF.org.
The two male runners with the fastest personal bests hail from Ethiopia, and while Dino Sefir’s 2:04:50 and Feyisa Lilesa’s 2:04:52 are truly impressive times, both men will need to do some serious trimming if they’re going to take a shot at Kenyan Wilson Kipsang’s course record.
Kipsang—who evidently excels on German roadways and set a new world record of 2:03:23 at September’s Berlin Marathon—clocked in at 2:03:42 in 2011. That means Sefir and Lilesa will need to run more than a minute faster than they’ve ever run before, while facing challenges from three of Kipsang’s countrymen: Vincent Kipruto, Levy Matebo Omari, and Albert Matebor, who round out the elite field’s top five.
As always, weather will play a key role, and last year, as temperatures dipped to near freezing at start time, Kenya’s Patrick Makau won with a time of 2:06:08. As of this morning (October 18), Weather.com is predicting partly cloudy skies and a low of 48 degrees, so if that holds, Kipsang may have reason to keep an eye on the results.
Regardless of atmospheric conditions, none of Frankfurt’s participants stand even the slightest chance of going one better than Kipsang and breaking two hours—at least according to Mo Farah.
In an interview with BBC Radio 5, the Guardian reports, the Somali-born British runner said it was “crazy” to believe that he or anyone would run a sub-two-hour marathon anytime soon.
"I don't think two hours is going to be broken in the next 10 years or even beyond that, maybe even 100 years,” Farah said, “because if you think about it, it's really difficult.”
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg