Former marathon world record holder Patrick Makau believes the hunt for a new mark at the Berlin Marathon on September 24 by a trident of the fastest men over the distance this year, will not be an easy task.
With chasing a new time already an uphill task, Makau opines that having three ambitious runners on that assignment will put them under pressure, individually.
The organisers have assembled another former world record holder, Wilson Kipsang, Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge and multiple Olympic and world 10,000m and 5,000 m record holder, Kenenisa Bekele.
“It was such a tough task to bring the three men together and the organisers must be commended for this,” said Makau. “However, having them on the same course puts them under pressure since they will all want to prove a point.”
Makau added: “Apart from the record, remember there is also a race to be won and again, all of them will want to be the champion.”
“Breaking a world record as per my experience requires a lot of hard work, experience, mental and physical strength as well as a favourable course and weather conditions.”
He observed that Berlin is usually a good course since it is basically flat with minimum headwinds. Among the three, Makau tipped Kipsang to be best suited to lower Dennis Kimetto’s mark of 2:02:57.
“Kipsang is the most experienced on that course, having run a world time there but you can never rule out Kipchoge and Bekele,” he said. Interestingly, he observed that a more ‘relaxed’ runner could turn the dark horse and outdo the fancied trio. “You can’t rule out a dark horse,” said Makau, adding that he will not be the one despite having been invited. “We could see an outsider, who is under no pressure like the three, come and win the race. But this will depend on the factors I mentioned earlier.”
Kipsang, Kipchoge and Bekele are expected to attack the course on September 24. He said the two Kenyans should be wary of the Ethiopian, whose entry into the race have put the country’s dominance at risk.
“The current crop of runners doesn’t have the capacity to reclaim the world record if Kipsang and Kipchoge doesn’t prevent it from heading to Ethiopia,” said Makau, who broke another Ethiopian Haile Gebreselassie’s time in 2011. Paul Tergat started the modern day assault on the record when he lowered United States Khalid Khannouchi’s 2:05:38 mark while setting a new time of 2:04:55 at the 2003 Berlin Marathon.
Gebreselasie lowered it twice in 2007 and 2008, setting times of 2:04:26 and 2:03:59 (both in Berlin) before Makau raided it successfully, returning 2:03:38. Kipsang shed off 15 seconds off Makau’s time in 2013 before Kimetto became the first man to dip under 2:03 an year later.