Ethiopian long-distance runner, Kenenisa Bekele is set for an appearance in the BMW Berlin Marathon race. The Olympic champion has garnered much attention in the 46th edition of the Berlin Marathon and will run the course for a second time after he clinched victory with a personal best of 2:03.03 in 2016.
It was announced by organizers of the BMW Berlin Marathon that Kenenisa has joined the men’s race for the IAAF Label road race taking place on September 29. He will lineup with compatriots Leul Gebrselassie, Sisay Lemma, Birhanu Legesse and Feyisa Lelisa.
Kenenisa will be tested by his fellow athletes, who have also performed well in previous races. Birhanu who has won the Tokyo marathon in March with a time of 2:04:15 in 2018, and Leul, who was a runner-up in the Dubai 2018 marathon with a time of 2:04:02, will pose a stern challenge to overcome. Furthermore, this outstanding line-up is also joined by Sisay, who has clocked in at 2:04:08 finishing fifth in Dubai.
The Berlin course, largely dominated by Kenyan athletes, has witnessed 15 Kenyan athletes register a new record over the years. In fact, in 2018, Eliud Kipchoge set a new world record with a time of 2:01:39 breaking the 2:02 barrier.
Kenenisa, one of the greatest distance runners of all time, including his three Olympic gold medals, has amassed 17 world titles in track, indoor and outdoor races and cross-country races.
Kenenisa made his debut in marathon races in 2014, setting a new course record of 2:05:04 in Paris. He then set a personal best registering a time of 2:03.03 which at the time was an Ethiopian record and just six seconds off the then world record, when winning the Berlin Marathon in 2016.
In regards to the women’s race, Meseret Difar, a double Olympic 5000m champion in 2004 and 2012, is listed alongside Rio Olympic marathon bronze medalist Mare Dibaba. Meseret though new to the race is expected to shine. Relatively, Mare Dibaba is experienced in road-races and has won the Beijing marathon in 2015. Furthermore, she has won the Chicago marathon with a time of 2:25:37.
Elsewhere, the 2015 and 2017 BMW Berlin marathon winner, Gladys Cherono is listed to take part in the event. Last year, the Kenyan won the race with a course record of 2:18:11.
The winner will be awarded financially, which amounts to EUR 230,000 plus bonuses in a form of USD 50,000 for a new record set.