The Race renowned for World Records makes its Comeback next Sunday

Some of the world’s top runners and approximately 25,000 others will be on the start line Sunday, September 26, for the 47th edition of the Berlin Marathon. The second-fastest man all-time Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele heads the men’s field while his compatriot Hiwot Gebrekidan leads the women. 

2019 BMW BERLIN-MARATHON. Photo credit: SCC EVENTS / Petko Beier

If Bekele can summon similar form to that which he showed on the streets of Berlin two years ago when he came within two seconds of the world record with his time of 2:01:41, a very fast and dramatic marathon will happen. If the weather is ideal, bet on Bekele attempting Eliud Kipchoge’s world record run the year prior at Berlin at 2:01:39.

Meanwhile, Gebrekidan has the world lead for 2021 at 2:19:35 in Milan. It is her personal best and while is off Brigid Kosgei’s world record of 2:14:04 by five minutes and 31 seconds, the 26-year-old had made steady improvements each year.

The men’s field features ten runners with personal bests of sub-2:07 while the women’s field shows six who have run under 2:25 and another five sub-2:30.

Berlin is one of the Abbott World Marathon Majors series with Boston, Chicago, London, New York and Tokyo. It is Germany’s biggest and most spectacular road race. 

According to the organisers, the event will take place under strict hygiene rules after the 2020 edition had to be cancelled because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Given the continuing conditions imposed by the pandemic, the number of starters for this year has been considerably reduced. Two years ago there were 43,987 finishers who ran through the Brandenburg Gate to the finish line. This year around 25,000 runners are expected to compete. This number potentially could make the event the biggest marathon worldwide since the pandemic began. Organizer SCC Events has already staged two big running events in the past two months in the German capital, a 10k race and a half-marathon. 

The Berlin Marathon is generally considered to offer the fastest race in the world, with many of the top times having been run on its course.

Eighteen of the top-60 marathon men’s performances all-time have been run on the Berlin course including 11 of the top-23 three of the top four. Nine of the top-51 of the women’s fastest times have been run there.

Fastest runners on the start list


Kenenisa Bekele ETH 2:01:41
Guye Adola ETH 2:03:36
Eliud Kiptanui KEN 2:05:21
Philemon Kacheran KEN 2:06:05
Festus Talam KEN 2:06:13
Tadu Abate ETH 2:06:13
Olika Adugna ETH 2:06:15
Tesfaye Lencho ETH 2:06:18
Hidekazu Hijikata JPN 2:06:26
Michael Njenga KEN 2:06:43
Josphat Boit KEN 2:07:20
Kazuki Muramoto JPN 2:07:36
Taku Fujimoto JPN 2:07:57


Hiwot Gebrekidan ETH 2:19:35
Shure Demise ETH 2:20:59
Helen Tola ETH 2:21:01
Ruth Chebitok KEN 2:23:29
Bethelhem Moges ETH 2:23:38
Fancy Chemutai KEN 2:24:27
Rabea Schöneborn GER 2:27:03
Iwona Bernardelli POL 2:27:47
Martina Strähl SUI 2:28:07
Izabela Paszkiewicz POL 2:28:12
Edith Chelimo KEN 2:29:03

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