Kenya: Little-Known Kenyan Trio Plots Upset in Berlin

25 September 2021

This year's Berlin Marathon which goes down on Sunday will see new entrants compete and not the big names that usually race in the German capital.

Berlin is where the men's world marathon record has been broken severally and athletics fraternity will be watching the race closely to see what unfolds on Sunday.

The race was last held in 2019 and is just returning after last year's edition was cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic.

Various athletes across the world will grace the race with the fastest in the women's category being Ethiopia's Hiwot Gebrekidan who has a personal best time of 2 hours, 19 minutes and 35 seconds.

The 2018 Barcelona Marathon champion Ruth Chebitok will lead the Kenyan cast, that also has Fancy Chemutai and Edith Chelimo, in challenging for top honours.

The trio will face a competitive field from Ethiopia which includes Shure Demise (2:20:59), Helen Tola (2:21:01), Bethelhem Moges (2:23:38) among other athletes.

Chebitok, who flew out of the country on Wednesday night, told Nation Sport that she is happy to be among the chosen few to compete in Berlin Marathon.

"I'm happy I will be competing in the Berlin Marathon on Sunday which is my first major marathon and I have prepared adequately for the task ahead. I know it won't be easy but I will do my best because I'm aiming to be on the podium," said Chebitok.

New Personal Best

The soft-spoken athlete, who has been training in Kapsabet, Nandi County added that the elite field looks competitive but she plans to stick with the leading group to finish in a good position.

"The field looks fast especially the Ethiopians but I will stay with the leading group because my target is to finish in a good position and lower my personal best time," said Chebitok who is under Volare Sports.

Chebitok finished sixth in the 2019 Toronto Marathon where she clocked 2:24:13 and has been training since then waiting for an opportunity to race.

"When the coronavirus pandemic struck, we just stayed at home training to keep fit because there was no race to participate in. I was happy when my management informed me that I will be competing in Berlin," she revealed.

Chemutai, who has a personal best time of 2:24:27 which she clocked when she finished tenth in last year's Valencia Marathon, has been training in Kericho and is also eyeing a place in the podium.

She missed the world half marathon record by a second when she won the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon race in 2018 in a time of 64:52.

The other athlete to watch is Chelimo who competed in the London Marathon last year and emerged 11th in a time of 2:29:06.

In the last edition which took place in 2019, Ashete Bekere won in 2:20:14 ahead of her compatriot Mare Dibaba who clocked 2:20:21 while Kenya's Sally Chepyego settled for third place in 2:21:06.

It was a clean sweep for Ethiopia in the men's category after Kenenisa Bekele won in 2:01:41, just two seconds outside Eliud Kichoge's record.

The second place went to Birhanu Legese who clocked 2:02:48 while Sisay Lemma settled for third place in 2:03:36.

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