Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya announced plans to run the 2018 Berlin Marathon on Sept. 16. Kipchoge has won the race in 2015 and 2017 and could become the first man since Haile Gebrselassie to win three victories in Berlin.
“Berlin is a special race or me and a marathon that I love,” Kipchoge said in a video. “Every edition I ran faster than the edition before. First edition, I ran 2:04:05. Second edition, I ran 2:04:00. Third I ran 2:03:32. What will I do this year? You will see in September.”
Race organizers also announced former world record holder and Kenyan compatriot Wilson Kipsang will also return to the race. Kipsang is the last man to beat Kipchoge in the marathon when he set a then-world record of 2:03:23 to win the 2013 edition of the race. The world record was lowered a year later by Dennis Kimmeto’s 2:02:57, which still stands. Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese, the world record holder in the half marathon, will also race in September’s Berlin Marathon.
Kipchoge rebounded from the loss to Kipsang by winning the 2014 Rotterdam Marathon, 2014 Chicago Marathon, 2015 London Marathon, 2015 Berlin Marathon, 2016 London Marathon, 2016 Olympic Marathon, 2017 Berlin Marathon and 2018 London Marathon.
Kipchoge did not run a spring marathon in 2017 because he decided to participate in an attempt by Nike to break the two-hour barrier under optimal race conditions. In the Breaking2 project, Kipchoge ran 2:00:25 but the time is not eligible for a world record due to the rotating cast of pacers used as well as other factors in optimizing the race to near-perfect conditions. Kipchoge is arguably the best marathoner in the world for the past four years.
In this year’s Berlin Marathon announcement, Kipchoge did not specify a world record goal but said wants to improve upon his personal best of 2:03:05, which was set at the 2016 London Marathon.