Another high-class race and another Kenyan triumph are both very likely on Sunday when the 28th edition of the Vattenfall BERLIN HALF MARATHON will be started. The event had a great development in recent years. Today it is one of the biggest and one of the best quality half marathons worldwide. Eight runners have entered the Vattenfall BERLIN HALF MARATHON featuring world-class personal bests of sub 61 minutes. Six of them are Kenyans. And among them is the defending champion and course record holder Patrick Makau Musyoki. Organisers of the 28th edition of the race expect a record field of about 24,500 athletes, including all events. For the first time there are more than 20,000 entries for the half marathon race. Up to 150,000 spectators are expected to line the course.
On Sunday eight athletes featuring personal bests of sub 61 minutes will be in the race. Six of them are from Kenya. The most promising one is probably Patrick Makau Musyoki. The 23 year-old had broken the course record last year, improving his personal best to 58:56 minutes.
With this time the Kenyan still is the third fastest runner of all times. A year ago he was only 23 seconds short of Sammy Wanjiru’s world record. The Kenyan had clocked 58:33 minutes in The Hague in 2007.
“Compared to last year I think I am in better form since I have done better training. So I hope to run faster on Sunday. The course record is a goal,” said Patrick Makau Musyoki. Asked about the possibility of breaking the world record Makau said: “All I can say is that it will depend on the weather and on the others willing to work for a fast pace. If you have to do it all alone it will be very difficult. If everything fits together on Sunday then it is possible. My first aim is the course record – if we are on time for that then may be the world record is possible as well.”
Patrick Makau Musyoki’s fiercest rival could be Joseph Maregu. The Kenyan has a personal best of 59:45 minutes. All the favourites from Kenya who are running on Sunday recalled that they could train undisturbed at the time when there was violence in their country. Isaac Macharia (PB: 60:48) recalled: “It was mentally very hard for every Kenyan. You always heard about what happened somewhere in the country. I live in the Ngong Hills and didn’t have a problem at all. But it was really depressing and of course you see refugees and you try to help them. We accommodated some of them. Mostly they came from Eldoret. Of course you have to help them.”
In comparisson the women’s race will probably not be quite as strong on Sunday. But a sub 70 minute time is well possible in fine weather conditions. Kenyan Peninah Arusei is the one entered with the fastest personal best (69:23). But Pauline Wangui is not far away with 69:49 minutes, with which she had won the recent half marathon in The Hague.
“It will be the first time I run a half marathon in Germany but I have had some good races here,” said Peninah Arusei who has recently taken the Paderborn 10 k race in a notable time of 31:42 minutes. And she was successful in Berlin before as well, when winning the 25 k race two years ago and taking second place in 2007. A couple of more Kenyan runners and Mexico’s Dulce Maria Rodriguez (PB: 70:30) could be the main rivals of Arusei and Wangui on Sunday.