The in-form Eliud Kipchoge insists he is not targeting a new world record at Sunday’s Berlin Marathon, but the Kenyan is expecting another quick race.
Berlin has developed a reputation as the fastest course in the world over recent years, with good reason.
Of the past six occasions on which the men’s world record has been broken, Berlin has been the venue every time – including in each of the last two races.
Last year, Dennis Kimetto’s time of two hours, two minutes and 57 seconds usurped the mark of Wilson Kipsang’s 2:03:23 set 12 months previously.
Neither of those men are present at this year’s event, with Kipchoge, Emmanuel Mutai and Geoffrey Mutai expected to be the front-runners.
“I’m not saying I’ll break the world record on Sunday but I’m ready for a very fast time,” said Kipchoge, who finished second behind Kipsang in 2013.
Kipchoge comes into the race in fine form, having won all three of his marathons since that near miss – in Rotterdam and Chicago in 2014 before success in London earlier this year.
His training partner Emmanuel Mutai was runner-up to Kimetto in 2014 in a time of 2:03:13, which would have been enough to beat the previous world record.
“I’m looking forward to the race on Sunday and have prepared very well,” he said. “It’s always my aim to run faster than before.
“Everyone wants to win and I accept whatever happens – whether it’s myself, Eliud or Geoffrey who finishes first.”
In the women’s race, Paula Radcliffe’s world record of 2:15:25 is not expected to be under threat, with none of the main challengers having broken the 2:20 barrier.
Ethiopia’s Aberu Kebede is chasing a slice of history, as she bids to become just the third woman to triumph in Berlin on three occasions, alongside Germany’s Uta Pippig and Renata Kokowska of Poland.
“If I could win for a third time, it would be a crowning moment in my career – and also a record,” said Kebede, who enjoyed victories in 2010 and 2012. “I want to break 2:20 once and for all.”
Kebede is likely to face stiff competition from Gladys Cherono of Kenya, who ran 2:20:03 on her marathon debut in Dubai back in January.