Kenyans have dominated the event in the past decade, winning both the men’s and the women’s titles for ten years in a row. Once again they will be the favourites on Sunday. One of the main contenders is 33 year-old William Kipsang, who celebrated his biggest win so far in 2008. The Kenyan took the Rotterdam Marathon with 2:05:49. While he also won the marathons in Amsterdam (2003) and Seoul (2005) he will race the 25 k distance for the first time on Sunday.
William Kipsang will be up against an even faster marathon runner from Kenya. Eliud Kiptanui made an astonishing breakthrough when he won the Prague Marathon a year ago with a course record of 2:05:39. He recently finished fourth in the Rotterdam Marathon with 2:09:04, suffering of stomach problems during the race.
Tujuba Beyu is the most likely runner to spoil the Kenyan party in Berlin. The Ethiopian has been entered with a half marathon best of 59:43 minutes. Additionally he took the Rome Ostia half marathon this year with 59:58. But another one who has shown great form this season comes from Kenya again: Methew Kisorio was fourth at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in March. The 21 year-old then went on to take the Stramilano with 60:03.
The women’s race will feature a former winner of the BIG 25 Berlin: Filomena Chepchirchir had taken the race in 2007 with 1:25:38. A year later the Kenyan was second, although improving to 1:24:55. 29 year-old Filomena Chepchirchir showed fine form a couple of weeks ago. She won the Den Hague half marathon in a personal best of 69:06.
Her strongest opponents on Sunday will be fellow countrywomen: Eunice Kales, who was fourth a year ago in Berlin with 1:29:05, and Diana Chepkemoi. She has a half marathon personal best of 70:40 minutes.