September 22, 2017
On Sunday, one of the most anticipated marathons in years will take place as Eliud Kipchoge, Wilson Kipsang and Kenenisa Bekele will all clash at the 2017 BMW Berlin Marathon. Race organizers were kind enough to send us some sit-down interviews they filmed with the Big 3.
You can watch the interviews below. Kipchoge’s interviews was the shortest (less than 2 minutes) while Kipsang was the most talkative (6 minutes). We’ve also typed up a few key quotes from each which appear below the videos.
Kenenisa Bekele: “I hope it will be [the] great[est] ever – this race….I have complete confidence I can compete with any athlete.”
Bekele, who came up short of the WR last year in Berlin, said it’s impossible to make predictions as you never know how a race will play out especially with the competition being so strong. However, he has very high hopes for the race. “I hope it will be [the] great[est] ever – this race.”
Bekele on pacing/race strategy:
“I think all of us we have different tactics so we will see during the race what is going on. We are not sure – you know …during the race anything can happen and I wan to follow my feeling. My plan was to follow the pace and see what is going on. Of course, more (important), I want to listen to myself during the race so I will plan during the race what I am going to do.”
Bekele when asked about his strength and weaknesses:
“Because of that (small injuries), I’m losing some training session. So I’m really not 100 percent finishing my training – so that’s my weakness. My strength is I believe in myself, and I can do better, I can compete with [the] others. I’m strong enough – this is my strength…I have complete confidence I can compete with any athlete.”
Eliud Kipchoge “I’m really, really looking forward for Sunday…. Good things [happening] isn’t an option – it’s a necessity.”
Kipchoge is clearly very excited about Sunday’s race as his interview starts with him saying, “I’m really, really looking forward for Sunday.”
However, he wanted only to talk about himself and not his competitors. “I’ll run my own race. I don’t want to talk of the other competitors, but I respect them,” said Kipchoge.
Failure is not an option in Kipchoge’s mind. “They say you are coming here for success, then good things [happening] isn’t an option – it’s a necessity.”
When asked about how fast he could run, Kipchoge reminded the interviewer that he’s run quite fast in the past, “Remember I have a personal best of 2 hours.. so my mind is already ***inaudible** for any time on Sunday.”
And Kipchoge clearly realizes the stakes are very high, “I think I’m coming here for a fast time but we are three and we are strong – there will only be one winner.
Wilson Kipsang says his shape is “far much better” than last year and says there is an 80% chance the world record falls
Like Kipchoge, Kipsang was clearly excited for Sunday.
“I want to say that I’m really looking forward to once again compete.. I hope to run my personal best and course record.”
“It’s a great privilege and honor to be invited to such a strong field. At times you find, you go to competitions, win and run a good time but you might not get the opportunity to compete with other strong guys. So this is an opportunity of its own where we have three strong guys – each with the potential to run a world record – and each and everyone is going for it. So I can really say it’s one of the toughest times that [has] never really happened [before].”
Unlike Kipchoge, Kipsang wasn’t afraid to talk about his competitors. When asked for his thoughts on Kipchoge’s greatness, he praised him for his “consistency” and the “the will to take it head on from the start.
As for Bekele, Kipsang said he likes to come from behind. “Bekele is one who is not one really used to running from the front. He likes to run from behind but towards the end he always he wants to really come on, close the gap and push it but at times (that doesn’t work and Kipsang cited London 2017 as an example).”
“Eliud is more consistent. He runs an even pace. So if the pacers are not in a position to maintain the pace, it gives him a problem. “
Kipsang said the key to Kipchoge is whether or not he’s had enough time to recover from the sub-2 attempt which was held on May 6th – much later than your normal spring marathon.
“If he has not recovered very well, then that might give him a problem because recently he ran very fast. I don’t know how his preparation has been. You find it’s just like an exam. You have to study, prepare and everything so during the exam time, if you are lucky enough that what you practice so much comes on the exam, then you are in a position to really pass the test. Everyone has done his best.”
Kipsang was very upbeat when asked to compare his fitness this year to last year when he ran 2:03:13 in Berlin.
“In trying to compare to last year, my shape this year… I can really say it’s far much better than last year. I stand a better chance to run faster than last year because last year towards the end I wasn’t strong as was required. If all goes well this year, I think I have the potential to run fast… (inaudible)…to run faster than last year and even beat my friend Kenenisa Bekele.”
When asked for the possibility of a world record, Kipsang was very precise in his answer.
“I think the chances are I really say are 80%. Yeah. I don’t believe they are 90 but 80 percent. There is a high possibiltty that we are really going to have a world record. If we take the approach….Its’ not even about beating our opponents, it’s just running a world record. So if everyone is still trying to go against the time, I think the chances are 80%,” said Kipsang who added that it’s “very tricky” when one tries to balance chasing the world record with making sure you win. He said Bekele lost the World Record by making sure he beat Kipsang in the race.
Check our our 2017 Berlin Marathon page for complete coverage and make sure you read our men’s preview – The Big 3: Kipchoge, Bekele And Kipsang Chase The WR In Berlin – Who Breaks It, And By How Much? – as well as historical look back at the previous men’s world records set in Berlin –A Look Back At The Men’s Marathon World Records Set In Berlin.