Experts insist it won’t happen anytime soon, but should a man ever break two hours in the marathon, he may well be a Kenyan running in Germany.
In 2011, competing in Berlin and Frankfurt three weeks apart, two athletes from that African nation ran the fastest and second-fastest times ever recorded, and later this month, they’ll return to Germany with dreams of setting a new standard.
On September 29, world record-holder Patrick Makau, who ran 2:03:38 in Berlin, and his countryman Wilson Kipsang, the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist, who clocked 2:03:42 in Frankfurt, will go head-to-head at the BMW Berlin Marathon, and even if their goal isn’t breaking two hours, they’ve got high hopes for the event.
“I can’t say how low we intend to reduce the world record,” Kipsang said earlier this week, according to the Kenyan website CapitalFm. “However, if the weather and other factors remain constant, running under the 2:03 mark is very much possible.”
While trimming more than 38 seconds from the record would be quite a feat, Makau and Kipsang may stand as good a chance as any two runners. At the 2012 London Marathon, Kipsang finished in 2:04:44, becoming only the second person in history to run three sub-2:05 marathons.
Earlier this year, he won the NYC Half-Marathon in a time of 1:01:02, and while he only managed fifth place at this year’s London Marathon, crossing in 2:07:47, it was all part of his plan.
“I went slowly this year,” Kipsang told CapitalFM. “I wanted to prepare well for Berlin, and the allure of a possible world record did influence that decision to run sparingly.”
Speaking of strategy, Kipsang won’t be lone-wolfing it when he hits the streets of Berlin. He’ll chase the world record with a little help from a friend, and if he doesn’t break the 2:03 mark, he says it “will not take long before somebody does.”
“I have secured permission to have my training mate Edwin Kiptoo run in Berlin,” Kipsang said. “He will help me a lot. He will be a pacemaker and he has been permitted to run as far as possible. So we will see how the body responds and then decide if going for the record is attainable.”
“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