BMW Berlin Marathon

Ethiopia’s superstar Kenenisa Bekele and Kenya’s triple BMW BERLIN-MARATHON champion Gladys Cherono are very much in the focus at the 46th edition of the Germany’s biggest and best quality road running spectacle. Next Sunday Kenenisa Bekele intends to bounce back once again at the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON, a race he won in thrilling fashion three years ago with a personal best of 2:03:03. Gladys Cherono aims to win a fourth Berlin title which would make her the sole record winner of the event. While fellow-Kenyan Vivian Cheruiyot had to cancel her start due to an Achilles tendon problem there are still five women on the start list with personal bests of sub 2:22. Four men feature personal records of sub 2:05, all of them from Ethiopia. A number of athletes will attempt to achieve the Olympic qualifying times of 2:11:30 and 2:29:30 for men and women respectively on the fast Berlin course.

Organisers recorded a record entry number of 46,983 runners from 150 nations. Along with races in Tokyo, Boston, London, Chicago, and New York, the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON is part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors. For the first time, the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON will be the final event in this year’s series.

After a series of disappointing results, it remains to be seen in what sort of form Kenenisa Bekele is on Sunday. It is likely that his strongest rivals will be fellow-Ethiopians. Birhanu Legese took the title in Tokyo in March with 2:04:48. In 2018 he made a spectacular debut with 2:04:15 in Dubai where he was sixth. Two more of the Berlin entries were in action in Dubai 2018 and ran their personal bests there: Leul Gebrselassie was the runner-up in 2:04:02 while Sisay Lemma clocked 2:04:08 in fifth position. While Felix Kandie, who has a PB of 2:06:03, is the fastest Kenyan on the start list two fellow countrymen could be in for a surprise: Training partners Abel Kipchumba and Bethwel Yegon showed very good form in the build-up to their marathon debuts in Berlin.

After victories in 2015 and 2017 Gladys Cherono achieved her third triumph in the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON last year with a course record of 2:18:11. The Kenyan may well have to run another sub 2:20 to win title number four because there is a group of runners who have the potential to achieve such a time as well. One Ethiopians is on the start list, who has already achieved a sub 2:20 time: Mare Dibaba, who won the world marathon title in 2015 and one year later took the bronze medal at the Rio Olympics, has a personal record of 2:19:52. Another prominent Ethiopian athlete on the start list is Meseret Defar. She is the double Olympic 5,000 m champion (2004 und 2012). Meseret Defar has the potential to run much faster than her current PB of 2:23:33.

Elite Runners with Personal Bests


Kenenisa BekeleETH2:03:03

Leul GebrselassieETH2:04:02

Sisay LemmaETH2:04:08

Birhanu LegeseETH2:04:15

Felix KandieKEN2:06:03

Jonathan Korir KEN 2:06:51

Yohanes GebregergishERI2:08:14

Kenta Murayama JPN 2:09:50

Kennedy NaibeiKEN2:09:54

Shogo KanezaneJPN2:10:19

Willy Ngelel KEN 2:10:31

Scott OverallGBR2:10:55

Liam Adams AUS 2:11:36 

Guojian Dong CHN 2:11:42

Matt LlanoUSA2:12:28

Yuichi Yasui JPN 2:12:39

Keisuke KusakaJPN2:12:42

Philipp Pflieger GER 2:12:50

Florent Caelen BEL 2:12:51

Valentin Pfeil AUT 2:12:55

Jonathan Mellor GBR 2:12:57

Abel Kipchumba KEN Debut

Bethwel Yegon KEN Debut

Haron Lagat USA Debut



Gladys Cherono KEN 2:18:11

Mare Dibaba ETH 2:19:52

Haftamnesh Tesfay ETH 2:20:13

Helen Tola ETH 2:21:01

Ashete Bekere ETH 2:21:14

Sally Chepyego KEN 2:23:15

Meseret Defar ETH 2:23:33

Rahma Tusa ETH 2:23:46

Zhixuan Li CHN 2:26:15

Sara Hall USA 2:26:20

Anna Hahner GER 2:26:44

Andrea Deelstra NED 2:26:46

Maja Neuenschwander SUI 2:26:49

Sally Kipyego USA 2:28:01

Martina Strähl SUI 2:28:07

Krista Duchene CAN 2:28:32

Adriana Nelson USA 2:28:52

Virginia Moloney AUS 2:29:14 

Nina Lauwaert BEL 2:30:24

Tracy Barlow GBR 2:30:42

Samantha Bluske USA 2:31:55

Dawa Jila CHN 2:31:55

Marisa Casanueva ESP 2:32:22

Melat Kejeta GER Debut

More information is available online at: