Both of the winners from 2022 will return to the start line of the Berlin Marathon to defend their titles on September 24. Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge (2:01:09 WR) and Ethiopian Tigist Assefa, who improved the women’s course record with a new course record of 2:15:37, will return.

Kipchoge, already the most decorated marathon runner of all time, will be seeking an unprecedented Abbott World Marathon Major crown on a course where he holds the current world record. The first man to break the two-hour barrier in the marathon during the INEOS 1:59 Challenge set the official world record in both 2018 and 2022 and then took titles in 2015 and 2017. 

Eliud Kipchoge after winning the 2022 BMW Berlin Marathon. Photo credit: credit: NN Running Team

“On my road to the Paris Olympic Games, I like to go back to the BWM Berlin Marathon, since to me this is the perfect preparation. I have great memories there and I look forward to running the streets of Berlin again, together with the thousands of runners that will join.”

A fifth triumph would see him move clear of Haile Gebrselassie, with no man having ever won five times in Berlin. A win would also come a fitting 20 years after his first global triumph, over 5000m at the 2003 World Championships in Paris, which meant the start of an amazing career over the course of two decades. The greatest of all time once more has the opportunity to prove, in his own words: “No human is limited.” 

Among his rivals will be Eliud Kipchoge’s Kenyan compatriot Amos Kipruto. 

The latter won the London Marathon last year and possesses a high-quality personal best of 2:03:13. Kipruto has already competed against him previously in Berlin, finishing second in Kipchoge’s world record run with 2:06:23 in 2018.

Tigist Assefa also made headlines a year ago in the BMW Berlin Marathon when the Ethiopian improved her personal best by a staggering margin of almost 20 minutes, taking it down from 2:34:01 to 2:15:37. This performance took Assefa to third fastest on the all-time list for the women’s marathon at that time. Her priority on the fast Berlin course will be to produce another performance of undeniably world-class quality and ensure qualification for the Olympic Marathon in Paris in 2024.

In Sheila Chepkirui she will face a leading contender and one of the fast-rising stars among Kenya’s marathon women. She finished in London this spring in an outstanding fourth place among a field of great quality, running a personal best of 2:18:51. Chepkirui should have fond memories of Berlin, having won the GENERALI BERLIN HALF MARATHON despite freezing temperatures in a course record of 65:02 in 2022. She will have to raise her game still further, however, if she is to win a place among the three Kenyan women to be selected for the Olympic Marathon.

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