Race Recap: Men's Championships | Women's Championships
Results: Men's Results | Women's Results
What To Expect: MarathonGuide.com's Preview |
IAAF's Men's Preview | IAAF's Women's Preview
Race/Athlete Profiles: The Men | The Women
Facts/Figures/Lists: Men's Past Athlete Performances | Women's Past Athlete Performances | Men's Starting Lists | Women's Starting Lists
Extras: Video Coverage | Course Map
2009 World Championships Men's Marathon IAAF Preview
by Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF
A lot can happen in the space of two hours, which is why championship marathons so often produce unexpected results. And with World record holder Haile Gebrselassie and Olympic champion Samuel Wanjiru choosing to skip the World championships, it makes the men's Marathon in Berlin even more of an open – and unpredictable – race.
But, as with most of the distance events, it is difficult to look past the might of Africa, Kenya in particular. Kenya won their first ever World championships gold medal two years ago in Osaka, propelling Luke Kibet to stardom. Gold in Beijing followed, courtesy of Wanjiru, and it looks as though Kenya has finally broken the draught of global gold medals in the Marathon.
As ever, Kenya has fielded a formidable team for Berlin with the 'slowest' team member, Benjamin Kiptoo, having a PB of 2:07:17. Kiptoo won in Rome this year and heads to Berlin with a streak of three victories behind him. The fastest member of the team – and the sixth-fastest man of all-time, incidentally – is Abel Kirui. He improved to 2:05:04 this year to finish third in Rotterdam and based on PBs will be the fastest man on show in Berlin.
Daniel Rono and Emmanuel Mutai are similarly inexperienced at major championships, but Rono has a 2:06:58 PB and finished second in Boston this year. Mutai is a 2:06:15 man and has finished fourth in London for the past two years.
Robert Cheruiyot rounds out the Kenyan team and is the most accomplished of them all. The four-time Boston winner and former Chicago champion has a PB of 2:07:14 and is always a strong contender.
But Ethiopia has been starting to make a dent in Kenya's Marathon dominance in recent years and will be keen to regain the title they last won in 2001. Tsegaye Kebede and Deriba Merga finished in the top four at the Olympics last year and have since gone from strength to strength.
Kebede finished second in London in April, setting a PB of 2:05:20, while Merga won in both Houston and Boston earlier this year. They will be joined in Berlin by Yemane Tsegaye (PB of 2:06:30), Deressa Edae (2:07:54 PB) and Dejene Yirdawe (2:08:30 PB).
But perhaps the marginal favourite to win is Jaouad Gharib. The Moroccan is the only man to win two World titles and he could make it a third in Berlin. The 37-year-old won in 2003 and 2005, then finished second in Beijing last year. But earlier this year he took more than a minute and a half off his PB with a time of 2:05:27 in London, showing he is in the form of his life.
Other contenders include Moroccan duo Rachid Kisri (2:06:48 PB) and Abderrahim Goumri (2:05:30 PB); Eritrean entrants Yared Asmeron (fourth in Osaka and eighth in Beijing) and Yonas Kifle (2:07:34 PB); and Japanese trio Atsushi Sato (2:07:13 PB), Arata Fujiwara (2:08:40 PB) and Kazuhiro Maeda (2:11:01 PB).