NAIROBI, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- They are not the worst of friends, but such will be their profile when former world record holder Wilson Kipsang takes on Kenenisa Bekele and Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge on Sunday in the Berlin Marathon.
Kipsang has everything to prove after his last performance in London. The 35-year old has said he does not fear Kipchoge heading towards the Berlin Marathon.
"Respect, yes; fear, no. What Eliud has achieved over the past years is phenomenal. I am talking mostly about all his victories and less about this Breaking 2 hours project in Monza. His time of 2:00:25 is impressive, but I believe that the entire setting from the flat loop course to the alternating pacemakers to the refreshments probably made a difference of about two minutes," Kipsang said.
"Alone when you have to pick up your own drinks, you lose half a minute. If I had the same assistance, I believe I could achieve a time like that as well," he said.
Well Sunday will provide the perfect setting for the best marathon runners to prove their mantle.
It will be a level ground for Kipsang. But Kipchoge, who has always battled Bekele on the track since 2003, will be out to prove to his tormentor that he has eclipsed his fears and deserves to be crowned the king of marathon.
Kipchoge, who was paid up to 1 million U.S. dollars to skip the London Marathon and commit himself to the attempt to break the two hours mark in Monza, Italy in May, said his focus is now to beat Dennis Kimetto's 2:02:57 world record mark in Berlin.
Kipchoge is arguably the best marathoner in the world right now and the best marathoner the world has ever seen. He has run seven marathons and won six of them, none slower than 2:05:30.
The only marathon he lost was his second, in Berlin in 2014, where his compatriot Wilson Kipsang set the world record of 2:03:23 to beat him.
But since, Kipchoge has remained unbeaten. He won in his debut in Hamburg (2013) clocking 2:05:30.
He was second in Berlin the same year (2:04:00) and won in Rotterdam timed at 2:05:00, in Chicago 2014 he set a course record of 2:04:11 and the following year in London he won in 2:04:42.
Later he claimed the Berlin title in Sept. 2015 clocking 2:04:00 and last year he set a course record on return to London of 2:03:05.
In Rio he won the Olympic gold in 2:08:44 his slowest considering the humidity and heat. This shows his consistency, which is unmatched.
However, that will be put to test against Kipsang and Bekele as well as Patrick Makau, the former world record holder in Berlin 2:03:38 and Luke Kibet a former world marathon champion who will all line up in the German Capital city race.