Berlin Marathon 2021: Ethiopians achieve double

Bekele lost his bet. Set off to beat Kipchoge’s world record, the Ethiopian took only third place on Sunday in the Berlin marathon, won by his compatriot Guye Adola in an average time of 2 h 05 min 45 sec.

Kenyan Bethwel Yegon took second, and Gotytom Gebreslase gave Ethiopia a brace by winning the ladies’ race in 2h 20:09.

Double winner of Berlin (2016, 2019), former king of the track, triple Olympic champion and long holder of world records in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters, Kenenisa Bekele does not give up his dreams, even at 39 years old. .

“My preparation had not been perfect, I had the Covid nine months ago, and I had doubts before the race”, he admitted after finishing in 2h 06 min 47 sec, ” but for the future, I am really confident in my abilities. My plan is not only to break the world record, I want to go even further “.

Asked about the possibility of going under the mythical two-hour mark, Bekele did not hide his ambitions: “One day I will try, he said, I know it will be very hard, but I have confidence “.

“My feet were burning”

No man has so far achieved this feat in competition. Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge, who since Berlin-2018 holds the official world record in 2h 01 min 39 sec, however broke the psychological barrier by running in 1h 59 min 40 sec in October 2019 in Vienna, during a specially organized event for him in conditions not approved by the world athletics bodies.

On this ultra-fast course of the German capital, where the world record has already been broken seven times in the 21st century, Bekele, who had given up in extremis to line up in London a year ago and was not at the Games from Tokyo, had asked his hares to lead a hell of a train from the start. In 2019, he had failed two seconds behind Kipchoge’s record.

The small group of favorites went to semi in 1h 00 min 48 sec, but the heat which invited itself in the second hour broke the tempo from the 25th km.

“It was so hot that my feet were burning in my shoes,” said winner Adola on arrival.

Best beginner

For this 30-year-old runner, Berlin was a fond memory. He shone there in 2017, making a sensational entry that year onto the big stage of the world marathon.

This specialist of the half marathon (best time 59 min 06 sec), almost unknown to the general public at the time, then discovered the 42.195 km, and had threatened to the general surprise the great Eliud Kipchoge, whom he was still ahead of a few strides at the 40th kilometer.

Adola had finally finished in 2 hours 03 min and 46 sec, which is the best performance in history for a beginner over the distance. This time has remained since his personal best.

The athlete, who has been training since 2014 in Addis Ababa in the group of Italian manager Gianni Demadonna, had again run 2h 04 min 42 sec in Valence-2019, after a poor performance in London. Berlin was the fourth marathon of his career this year.

As a sign of a cautious return to normal, Berlin was the first of the six “majors” of the marathon open again to the general public after the pandemic, with 25,000 starters.

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