This year’s jubilee edition of the Run Berlin will have around 10,000 participants altogether. The last time the event had that many athletes was back in 1990. At that time the Run Berlin still carried the name 25 km de Berlin. That was because the French allied forces once started the race back in 1981. After reunification the name was changed into 25 km von Berlin. And now it is called Run Berlin since 2004. That is because during the last few years a number of other events have been included besides the traditional 25 k race. There is a 10 k race, there is the inline skating event and there are competitions for children as well. Regarding top athletes the race will once more be attractive.
During the last few years the Run Berlin had a fine development. It is just six years ago when there were less than 4,500 participants in the event, which is staged by the local athletics federation (Berliner Leichtathletik-Verband). Today there will be about double that number of athletes. Of course there are inline skaters among them. Their race will be just 23.5 k long since they are not allowed to go into the Olympic Stadium.
For the participants of the 25 k race there will be a change of the course in comparison to last year. Due to building works it is unfortunately not possible to run through Brandenburg Gate. Instead at the Siegessäule the course will go south first and then lead to Potsdamer Platz. But therefore the finish will be much more attractive again. It was already last year when the finish line was back in the Olympic Stadium. But a year ago the arena was still not completely rebuilt. For example the blue athletics track of the arena was not in place yet. Now on 8th May all the runners will finish inside the new Olympic Stadium. And they will run on the blue track.
Of course one can not expect that there will be such great results as in 2004 once more. The men’s race was the greatest 25 k race ever seen. Kenyan Paul Kosgei smashed the world record, clocking 1:12:45. Besides him four more runners, all from Kenya, also finished inside the old world record mark of 1:13:44. Rodgers Rop had been the holder of the world record. The Kenyan had won the race in Berlin in 2001.
While Paul Kosgei will not compete again this year due to lack of form last year’s number two is back. Luke Kibet had run 1:12:52 in 2004. James Kwambei, who has run a 60:42 half marathon this year, and Joseph Riri could be Kibet’s strongest rivals on Sunday. Riri had been fifth last year and then went on to clock 2:06:49 for a second place in last year’s Berlin Marathon.
In the women’s race probably Rose Cheruiyot is the favourite. The Kenyan had won the Berlin Half Marathon in 2002 in 69:32. Last year’s winner Christine Chepkonga (Kenya) had to withdraw due to an injury.