The 40th Berlin Marathon is set to be an enthralling race.
As ever, the German run will be crammed with 40,000 hopefuls, professional competitors and enough landmarks to satisfy ardent history buffs.
Taking place at 9 a.m local time on Sunday Sept. 29 and lasting throughout the day, what can we expect from this standout date on the European athletics calendar?
Starting with a look at the course each runner faces, let’s work out a set of predictions for the upcoming contest.
It’s worth noting that if you fancy yourself as a marathon runner, the Berlin route must be traversed by 3:15 p.m. CET, six and a quarter hours after it begins. Should you prefer to sit down and watch the action, the 26-mile course poses a significantly less intimidating challenge.
Runners are treated to an immediate spot of sightseeing as the race starts and concludes near the Brandenburg Gate. From here, the journey progresses alongside Charlotteburg, around Tiergarten, past the Reichstag and down to Friedrichshain.
The route then forces participants west to Neukolln before progressing onto Kreuzberg and Schoneberg. A dip down to Stieglitz and Zehlendorf is followed by the track heading back up to the north and toward the capital’s main city centre crowd.
As competitors head to the end, they will once again be greeted with the site of the Brandenburg Gate, and as an extra tidbit, the hotel balcony that played host to Michael Jackson’s baby-dangling antics of 2002.
Check out the full route below:
Preview and Predictions:
This year’s potential winners have risen to prominence due to a combination of amazing skill and unfortunate events.
Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang, Geoffrey Kipsang and Eliud Kipchoge will gain the interest of many, but this potential top three faces a considerable boost after two of their nearest rivals were ruled out of the competition.
Last year’s winner Geoffrey Mutai has opted to take part in the New York marathon, as confirmed by IAAF Athletics, a title he claimed in 2011. World-record holder Patrick Makau has also dropped out with a knee injury, as reported by LetsRun.
Even so, a troubled week for Kenya—which has seen horrific terrorist attacks in Nairobi dominate news across the world—should be given a moment of respite with a showing of solidarity at the top.
Wilson Kipsang’s performance could dictate whether or not he is any longer considered to be amongst distance running’s elite. The experienced athlete has failed to set the world alight this season and came fifth at the London marathon with a time of 2:07:47.
He will need to run around 2:03 in Germany if he is to compete for the title, but in terms of experience, he holds a trump card over his nearest rivals.
Both Geoffrey Kipsang and Eliud Kipchoge remain inexperienced at this level, but that shouldn’t discount their chances of grabbing the win. Despite being just 20 years old, Geoffrey is more than capable of building upon his 2:09:12 in Rotterdam, a time which saw him take fourth.
While youth isn’t quite so prominent in Kipchoge’s chances, the 28-year-old’s inexperience comes from this being his second marathon. He is undoubtedly qualified to take the crown and won his debut marathon in Hamburg with a time of 2:05:03, and if he can keep improving, we are looking at a real challenger.
Who Will Take the Win?
Wilson Kipsang may have the most experience, but this race is built for the power of Kipchoge. Having already triumphed in Germany this year, the latter will be eager to improve on a time that easily outpaces everyone bar the Kipsang duo.
Kipchoge is not the kind of runner who stumbles on the big stage. He is an experienced world champion at 5,000 metres and has switched over to marathon running with no hitches. Expect a confident, forthright and scintillating performance from the man who will leave Berlin with another prize added to his German collection.