2013 Men’s Berlin Marathon Preview: The World’s Best in 2012, Wilson Kipsang, Takes on 2003 World Track Champion Eliud Kipchoge and Rising Star Geoffrey Kipsang

by LetsRun.com
September 26, 2013

Since 1977, the world record in the marathon has fallen eight times in Berlin. Might it possibly fall for a ninth time on Sunday when the 2013 BMW Berlin Marathon is run?

The organizers certainly hope so.

We, however, aren’t focused on the world record as predicting something like that is foolish barring a huge tail-wind which isn’t possible in Berlin given it’s a loop course. Instead, we are focused on who is going to win between the three studs who headline the 2013 Berlin field – Wilson Kipsang, the 2nd fastest man ever on a loop course at 2:03:42, 2003 World 5000 champion Eliud Kipchoge (12:46 5000 pb) and 2011 world junior xc champion Geoffrey Kipsang who debuted in 2:06:12 last year and ran 58:54 in February for 13.1.

We’ll tell you what we think at the end, but first we give you all of the relevant details about all 11 elite entrants whom we’ve broken down into three categories: “The Three Studs (Guys Who Can Win It)”, “5 Guys Who Could Theoretically Win If All Three Of Studs Run Awful/Blow Up”, and the “Three Europeans.”

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The Three Studs (Guys Who Can Win It)

Kipsang at home in Kenya in 2012.

1. Wilson Kipsang – KEN – 31-year old. 2:03:42 pb (2011).
2013 Marathon: 2:07:47 5th in London.
Prep races: 65:26 half in Bogota (altitude) where he was 5th on July 27th.
What he has going for him? Great 2012 (1st London, 3rd Olympics, 1st Honolulu). Great past record – 3 times under 2:05.
Negatives? No great results in 2013 just a lot of talk.
Overall: This is an important race for Kipsang. A strong run and he’s instantly viewed once again as one of the world’s very best. If he struggles, we’ll wonder if his best days are past him.

2. Eliud Kipchoge – KEN – 28 years old. 2:05:30 (2013).
2013 Marathon: 2:05:30 marathon win in his debut in Hamburg.
Prep races: 60:18 2nd place San Diego June 2nd, 61:02 1st place in Klagenfut on 8/18.
What he has going for him? The World Champion at 5000m in 2003 has great speed – 12:46 pb on the track (also 2004 bronze, 2008 silver). Last year, he was running 12:55/27:11 on the track so he’s far from over the hill as shown by the 2:05:30 in his marathon debut.
Negatives? Inexperienced. Running 2:05 is one thing. 2:03 is 5 seconds per mile faster.
Overall: It will be very interesting to see how Kipchoge does here in his second marathon. A big race by him and he’s one of the event’s elite.

Geoffrey Kipsang finishing off his 58:54 earlier this year.

3. Geoffrey Kipsang KEN – 20 years young. 2:06:12 pb (2012).
2013 Marathon: 2:09:12 for 4th in Rotterdam
Prep races: 63:46 for 1st at altitude in Bogota (in same race where Wilson Kipsang was 5th)
What he has going for him? 2011 world junior xc champion ran 2:06:12 in his marathon debut last year. Also ran 58:54 half in February which caused us to rave about him. One of top young talents in the world.
Negatives? Inexperienced.
Overall: If he wins this at his age, he’s starting to look like a new Sammy Wanjiru. If he doesn’t run well, he’s a great half-marathoner who needs to improve at the marahton. 2:06:12 is no longer what it once was.

Bibs For The “Big Three” In Case You Watch Live

Wilson Kipsang singlet 2013 Berlin Eliud Kipchoge singlet 2013 Berlin Geoffrey Kipsang singlet at 2013 Berlin

5 Guys Who Could Theoretically Win If All Three Of Studs Run Awful/Blow Up


The 7 Berlin World Record Holders are Back for the 40th Anniversary of the Berlin Marathon: Patrick Makau (2:03:38), Haile Gebrselassie (2:03:59), Paul Tergat (2:04:55), Naoko Takahashi (2:19:46), Tegla Laroupe (2:20:43), Ronaldo da Costa (2:06:05), Christa Vahlensieck (2:34:48)

1. Marílson dos Santos – BRA – 36 years old – 2:06:34 pb (2011).
2013 Marathon: No finishes.
Prep races: 28:37 10,000 win at Brazil nationals in June, 13:55 5000 runner-up in June.
What he has going for him? Two-time New York champion. 5th in 2012 Olympics.
Negatives? Getting up there in age. Has never excelled at super fast races.
Overall: We have no idea why he’s running a super fast course like Berlin at age 36. A visitor has written and said dos Santos is going after the Brazilian record in Berlin, Ronaldo DaCosta’s 2:06:05 former world record. We could see a pr from dos Santod, but not the win.

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2. Negari Terfa – ETH – 30 years old- 2:07:32 pb (2013)
2013 Marathons: 2:07:32 win in Xiamen in January, 2:07:56 win in Rome in March.
Prep races: None.
What he has going for him? 3 time runner in the 2:07s including a pb in January.
Negatives? 13 marathons to his name, non under 2:07.
Overall: No chance he wins.

3. Stephen Chemlany USA – 31 years old- 2:07:55 pb (2011)
2013 Marathons: 2:08:30 for third in Rome.
Prep races: 62:14 at altitude in Nairobi for third in July.
What he has going for him? 2nd in Berlin in 2011.
Negatives? This is his 15th marathon and his pb is 2:07:55.
Overall: Former Iona runner may have a few US fans in his corner. Yet another example of a Kenyan who got WAY better after college. At Iona, he only ran 14:03 and then didn’t break 2:13 in his first 7 marathons. Now he’s a 2:07 guy. He ran NCAA xc three times and was 86th, 33rd, and 88th. How come US runners don’t improve like that?

4. Eliud Kiptanui – KEN – 24 years old. 2:05:39 pb (2010).
2013 Marathon: 2:15:10 for 17th in Seoul.
Prep races: None.
What he has going for him? Not a whole lot. Ran pb in his first of 8 career marathons. Hasn’t broken 2:06 since and has only broken 2:08 one other time.
Negatives? See above.
Overall: It’s amazing that in the year 2013 a 24-year old guy with a 2:05 pb is viewed as a ‘B’ teamer with no chance for victory by us.

5. Sisay Jisa ETH – 30 years old. 2:06:27 pb (2012).
2013 Marathon: No finishes.
Prep races: None.
What he has going for him? The 2:06:27 was his debut.
Negatives: In his only other marathon, he ran 2:16 last fall. Has only a 64:33 half-marathon pb.
Overall: Not sure how he ran 2:06:27 to begin with.

The Three Europeans

1. Scott Overall – GBR – 30 years old – 2:10:55 pb (2011)
2013 Marathon: No finishes.
Prep races:
3rd at British 10,000 champs in 29:29.57 in July. 48:44 10 miler in August.
What he has going for him? Best PR in field by a non-African by a long ways.
Negatives: Never broken 2:10.
Overall: Look for him to be the top European.

2. André Pollmächer – GER – 30 years old – 2:13:09 pb (2009)
2013 Marathon: None. No marathon finishes since 2009.
Prep races:

What he has going for him? 27:55 10,000 pb. Very few non-African elites so odds of being first European are pretty darn high.
Negatives: 2:13 pb.

3. Falk Cierpinski – GER – 35-years old – 2:13:30 pb (2008).
2013 Marathon: None.
Prep races:
Son of two-time Olympic marathon champion Waldemar Cierpinski who many think was a doper.
Negatives: Has finished 10 marathons and only run under 2:15 in one.
Overall: One of two German elites so he will be fan favorite.

Late addition at 10:52 pm on 9/27: Japan Running News’ Brett Larner has emailed us to say there are at least two Japanese marathoners running the race even though they aren’t on the official Berlin Marathon list of elite athletes.

34-year old Suehiro Ishikawa, who ran 2:09:10 in March this year in his third marathon (his other two were 2:11s last year) is running as is 24-year old Koji Kobayashi who ran 2:10:40 at Chicago last year (2:14:11 this year).

Which of the Big 3 is the Best?

Wilson Kipsang has to be considered the favorite. From the fall of 2011 through August of last year, he was the top marathoner in the world, running 2:03:42 to win Frankfurt, winning London in 2:04;44 and then getting the bronze at the Olympics, in a race where many, including us, feel he beat himself by pushing too fast too soon. Had he been more patient in the Olympics, he likely would be the Olympic champ and would still be regarded by the #1 marathoner on the planet not withstanding his fifth place showing in London this year.

Regardless, we urge you to read this pre-race article on Capital FM on Wilson as it’s full of insight and clearly shows Kipsang is a guy who appears to be in excellent shape. He’s even bringing his own pace-maker to Berlin and said, “This year, I have prepared well to run under 2:03:38 if all conditions are perfect and the weather is between ten and 19 degrees.”

The forecast for Sunday looks to be pretty good but not ideal. The temperature looks great as it will be between 47 and 50 during the race (8 to 10 Celsius), but the problem is it looks like it will be a little windier than ideal – 7 to 10 mph. That’s far from horrible but a world record normally requires perfect conditions.

Wilson Kipsang is far from a sure winner here. Eliud Kipchoge and Geoffrey Kipsang are both VERY talented and quite good. If Wilson Kipsang is on his game and beaten, we think Geoffrey Kipsang is the winner only because Eliud Kipchoge made his mark as a 5000, not 10000 runner on the track (although he has a 26:49 10,000 p). Kipchoge’s 2:05:30 pb shows he handled the move up to the marathon really well, but to beat a 2:03:42 guy, you need to be more than that. It likely needs to be your #1 distance and we’re just not sure that’s the case with him. Who knows? Maybe on Sunday we’ll find out he really was a marathoner who spent many years running the 5000 on the track.

Geoffrey Kipsang comes into the race from the other spectrum. He basically skipped out on a track career and went straight to the roads as in this day and age that’s where the cash is. A former world junior cross champ, he ran 2:06:12 in his debut last year at 19 and is still just 20. If he wins on Sunday, it will be hard to not make comparisons between him and the late Sammy Wanjiru.

Geoffer Kipsang flyerAt age 20, Wanjiru ran sub-59 in the half for the first time (a then world record of 58:33) and then ran 2:06 for the win in his first marathon at age 21 and one month. Geoffrey Kipsang ran 2:06 for the win in his first marathon last year and this year ran sub-59 in the half for the first time at age 20. Berlin comes two months before his 21st birthday.

We’re tempted to pick Geoffrey Kipsang for the win just so we’ll look smart if he actually wins it. We wish we could find betting odds for Berlin as he’d be the one to bet on, but can’t find them. If you know where they are, email us. We think the one most likely to win is Wilson Kipsang.

As for Geoffrey, a movie has come out about him this week entitled ‘The Unknown Runner”. You can watch the trailer for it below. It looks very interesting. It says something about the sport’s popularity if the World Junior Cross Country champion can be referred to as the “Unknown Runner.” The title “World Junior Cross Country Champion” is the equivalent of No. 1 Overall Draft Pick in the NBA.

More: http://www.theunknownrunner.com

More Berlin:LRC Berlin Women’s Marathon Preview


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