Nairobi, Sep 4 : Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele is the man to beat after he recovered from injury at this year's Berlin marathon on September 29.
However, Kenya will be optimistic about ruling the roost in the women's race, with champions Gladys Cherono facing off against her fellow Kenyan Vivian Cheruiyot in the women's race. There is also Olympic bronze medalist Ethiopian Mare Dibaba to contend with.
Cherono will be targeting her fourth title in Berlin and an improvement on the course record, which she broke last year clocking 2:18:11 to end a 13-year reign of Japanese Mizuki Noguchi who clocked 2:19:12."My goal is now to win for the fourth time in Berlin," Cherono said on Tuesday.
Race director Mark Milde says the fast time will inspire the women's team on the course where five men have broken the world record.
"Compared to the men, the women in Berlin have some ground to make up. With three very strong contenders in the line-up, the race on September 29 could be center stage," Milde said in a statement.
Milde also added that Kenenisa Bekele has joined a loaded men's field.Bekele is one of the greatest distance runners of all time. Along with his three Olympic gold medals, he has amassed 17 world titles on the track, indoors and outdoors, and in cross country. His world records for 5,000m and 10,000m have stood for 15 years.
He stepped up to the marathon in 2014 and set a course record of 2:05:04 in Paris on his debut at the distance. He set a personal best of 2:03:03 - which, at the time, was an Ethiopian record and just six seconds off the then world record - when winning the Berlin Marathon in 2016.
On September 29 he will line up against compatriots Guye Adola, Leul Gebrselassie, Sisay Lemma and Birhanu Legese in what looks set to be another memorable race in the German capital. (XINHUA)