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Berlin Marathon preview: Is a record bound to be broken?

A complete preview of Sunday's Berlin Marathon including the weather, how to watch and predictions

keira d'amato Photo by: Kevin Morris

The fall marathon season kicks off this Sunday, Sept. 25, in Germany for the 48th annual Berlin Marathon, the first of four Abbott World Marathon Majors over the next six weeks. The biggest name in distance running, Eliud Kipchoge, returns to the course he set the world record on four years ago, but the question everyone is asking is whether he can run 2:01:39 again?

Eliud Kipchoge at the 2021 The Prefontaine Classic. Photo: Kevin Morris

He also looks to become the second man to win four Berlin Marathon titles, joining the great Haile Gebrselassie, who won four consecutive Berlin Marathons between 2006 and 2009.

Kipchoge isn’t the only athlete chasing a record in Berlin. U.S. marathon record holder Keira D’Amato has made a quick turnaround from her eighth-place finish at World Championships and has her eyes on the American record of 2:19:12, which she ran in Houston earlier this year.

Natasha Wodak at the 2022 Canadian 10K Championships. Photo credit: Victah Sailer, PhotoRun

Vancouver’s Natasha Wodak is the lone Canadian in the elite field, and she is looking to take advantage of the fast Berlin course. In December 2020, Wodak ran the second-fastest marathon time by a Canadian woman, 2:26:19, at The Marathon Project in Arizona. She followed that up with an impressive 13th-place finish in the marathon at the 2020 Olympics Games.

Wodak hopes to shake 90 seconds off her marathon PB Sunday to challenge Malindi Elmore’s Canadian record of 2:24:50 from 2020.

The weather

The race starts at 9:15 a.m. local time (3:15 a.m. E.T.). The temperature looks to be perfect for marathoning–between 10 C and 14 C, with next to no wind. 

Men who hope to finish near Kipchoge

It is well known that Kipchoge is the favourite, but who are the guys most likely to finish second or stick with him until 30K?

Ethiopia’s Guye Adola, who was second to Kipchoge in 2017, won Berlin last fall in 2:05:45. The win marked his first major victory after struggling with injury earlier in his career. Like Kipchoge, Adola is fast and knows what it takes to win on this course. In 2017, he ran the fastest marathon debut in history on this course (2:03:46), but since then, he has not run close to that time.

Adola is the only other sub-2:05 runner, which Kipchoge is bound to finish under. If anyone else wins this race, it would take a miracle, or mean that both Kipchoge and Adola have blown up.

Ghirmay Ghebreslassie of Eritrea won the 2015 World Championships in Beijing and the New York Marathon in 2016 after missing the podium at the Rio Olympics. Although Ghebreslassie has the experience, in a sub-2:05 race, he may not have the speed to keep up with Adola and Kipchoge. 

Marley’s Pick: Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) – 2:02:29

Can Keira D’Amato become the first American winner?

D’Amato has the fastest time out of the 24 runners in the women’s elite field (2:19:12), but she has only had nine weeks to prepare for Berlin after her 2:23:34 at the World Championships in Eugene. (She was only selected for the U.S. team after Molly Seidel dropped out a few weeks before the championships.)

To run 2:23 at worlds off not much training is impressive, and should be a confidence booster for D’Amato on a faster Berlin course. 

D’Amato comes into the race in good form, winning the Falmouth Road Race last month. Photo: Kevin Morris

Many of the top Kenyan and Ethiopian runners will be competing later this fall, but there are other sub-2:22 runners in Berlin. Kenya’s Nancy Jelagat Meto (2:19:31 – Valencia) and Vibian Chepkirui, the winner of the Vienna City Marathon in 2:20:59 in April, have the experience and speed to deny D’Amato the title.

Rosemary Wanjiru of Kenya, a 65:34 half marathoner, is making her marathon debut here in Berlin. Although this is her first marathon, she will likely be in contention most of the race.

Marley’s Pick: Rosemary Wanjiru (KEN) – 2:18:39

How to watch

The 2022 Berlin Marathon will be streamed from Canada at FloTrack, which requires a subscription, with coverage starting at 2:30 a.m. E.T. (elites start at 3:15 a.m.). If you are looking for another stream, check here for more options.

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