BERLIN (Reuters) - Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge has the marathon world record firmly in his sights in Berlin on Sunday as he attempts a sub-two hour race.
But he will have to outrun fellow record contenders Wilson Kipsang and Kenenisa Bekele to get there.
Olympic champion Kipchoge, who has the third-fastest personal best time of two hours, three minutes and five seconds, is keen to break the two-hour barrier and set a world record which currently stands at two hours, two minutes, 57 seconds.
The 32-year-old came close during the Nike Breaking2 project, when he missed out by 24 seconds at Monza, though his time is not an official world record due to aspects of the event not satisfying IAAF criteria.
“The Monza marathon was for me a big success and I got a lot of motivation from that,” Kipchoge told reporters on Friday. “I want to run the first half in 60 minutes 45 seconds.”
“Victory alone is not success yet but it is necessary because it is three of us and there will be only one winner.”
Competition could not be fiercer on the famously flat and fast streets of the German capital, home to the last six marathon world records.
Three-time Olympic champion Bekele, of Ethiopia, can set a huge personal record if he finishes in word record time. He would become the first man to hold the marathon, 5,000 metres and 10,000 metre records simultaneously.
The 35-year-old, who only started running marathon events in 2014, came close to breaking the record in Berlin last year but lost out by six seconds, after being hindered by muscle problems.
“I think I can run better than last year,” said Bekele, who beat former world record holder Kipsang to the punch in Berlin last year.
“60 minutes 45 seconds is not my plan. I want to follow the leaders if I can. But I will not be stressed by it and will listen to my body.”
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann Editing by Jeremy Gaunt