Eliud Kipchoge has announced he will return to the BMW Berlin Marathon on Sept. 24, as the double Olympic champion sets out to be the first runner to rack up five wins on the famously flat and fast course. The 38-year-old Kenyan running legend, who ran 2:01:09 in Berlin last year to set the world record, says he has chosen Berlin for his fall marathon as the fast course will offer the ideal run-up for next year’s Olympic Games in Paris.
“On my road to the Paris Olympic Games, I like to go back to the BMW Berlin Marathon, since to me this is the perfect preparation,” says Kipchoge. “I have great memories there and I look forward to running the streets of Berlin again, together with the thousands of runners that will join.”
Kipchoge has been defeated only once in the German capital—in 2013 when he finished behind Wilson Kipsang. In addition to his world-record time last year, Kipchoge set a previous world record in Berlin in 2018 (2:01:39) and won the course titles in 2015 and 2017.
The runner will be hoping to show the world a return to form following his disappointing result at the Boston Marathon this past April. Kipchoge finished in sixth place, a long way off from his goal of not only winning the race, but of beating the 2:03:02 course record set by Kenya’s Geoffrey Mutai. Kipchoge attributed his performance to a problem in his upper leg that appeared about 30 km into the race.
Eliud Kipchoge reveals leg issue held him back at Boston Marathon
Kipchoge had been widely expected to target the New York City Marathon for his fall race, as it is the only one of the six World Marathon Majors that he hasn’t yet run. It was also suspected the hillier New York course would prepare Kipchoge—who has shown to be more adept in flatter races—for next year’s course in Paris, which has nearly 400 meters of elevation gain.
A fifth triumph in Berlin would see him move clear of Haile Gebrselassiewho produced an astounding four straight wins between 2006 and 2009. A win for Kipchoge would come 20 years after his first global triumph—the 5,000m at the 2003 World Championships in Paris.
A win in Berlin likely won’t come easily, however. Kelvin Kiptum, who became the second-fastest marathoner of all time with his 2:01:27 finish at the 2023 London Marathon—an effort, incidentally, that smashed Kipchoge’s former course record by more than a minute—opted out of the Budapest World Championships in August to focus on a fall marathon. It’s rumored that the 23-year-old has his sights set on Berlin.