© Copyright – 2023 – Athletics Illustrated
First off, the World Marathon Majors should skip the three-year assessment plan for the Sydney Marathon and adopt the event into the current crop of six majors. They are New York, Tokyo, London, Boston, Chicago and Berlin. At age 38, world record holder, Eliud Kipchoge, of Kenya will be 41, a master and perhaps a little slower. Kipchoge has now run five of the six Majors; all but New York.
It appears that Kipchoge runs best in time trials. Or he performs at his world-record-level on flat courses, where he can control the efforts. Perhaps he would not win New York, but he could make things interesting and Sydney would make it all seven Majors if the event is adopted. The Majors will get more mileage out of Kipchoge doing Sydney competitively, than while on a retirement tour. Just something for the WMM to consider. Alternatively, perhaps another Kenyan in Kelvin Kiptum will be the GOAT, by that time.
What about Berlin 2023 — this Sunday?
The 2023 Berlin Marathon is just one year removed from when Kipchoge improved his own world record of 2:01:39 to 2:01:09. Breathing down his neck is Kiptum, who shot out of the gates with an unheard-of debut of 2:01:53 in Valencia last December. Then improved upon that mark with a 2:01:25 win in 2023 London in April — just five months hence. What’s next for the 23-year-old Kenyan, a 2:01:08 in Chicago this fall?
Kipchoge will want to put the marathon world record further out of reach, to preserve his legacy a little longer. The weather forecast for Berlin five days out suggests light wind, mild temperatures and either filtered sun or partially cloudy conditions. Perfect. Apparently, training has been going very well. So, the question is, will Kipchoge be able to dictate the terms? Additionally how long will the other competitive athletes be able to run with him in Eliud Kiptanui (2:05.21), Ronald Korir (2:05.37), Philemon Kiplimo (2:05.44), Enock Onchari (2:05.47), and Mark Korir (2:05.49), Tadu Abate (2:05.38), Andualem Shiferaw (2:05.52), and Haftu Teklu (2:05.53)?
One of these athletes, most likely an Ethiopian, and a young Kenyan will want to try to make a name for himself. Kipchoge will have to mind his watch and the pacers and ignore the hair-trigger youth who may be out to usurp his plans. Too many surges will result in a slower overall performance. Even and consistent pacing is what he will need.
Currently, Kipchoge holds the first, third, sixth and seventh-fastest marathon times in history. He also holds the 15th and 17th fastest. Kipchoge is the two-time defending Olympic champion and has won 15 of 18 marathons that he has started. In boxing terms, he almost always knocks out his opponents. But he will have to be on his toes for the entire race on Sunday.