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News13 Jul 2023

Kipchoge and Assefa to defend Berlin Marathon titles


Eliud Kipchoge wins the 2022 Berlin Marathon (© AFP / Getty Images)

Eliud Kipchoge will head to the BMW Berlin Marathon seeking an unprecedented fifth men’s race win while Tigist Assefa will defend her title in the women’s race when the World Athletics Elite Platinum Label road race returns on 24 September.

Kenya’s Kipchoge improved his own world record by half a minute when winning last year’s Berlin Marathon in 2:01:09. That followed his previous victories secured in the German capital in 2015, 2017 and 2018, the latter in a then world record of 2:01:39.

There was also an impressive performance by Ethiopia’s Assefa in Berlin last year, as she improved the women's course record by more than two minutes with 2:15:37, a time that places her fifth on the world all-time list.

Tigist Assefa wins the Berlin Marathon

Tigist Assefa wins the Berlin Marathon (© Getty Images)

Among Kipchoge’s challengers will be his compatriot Amos Kipruto, the 2019 world bronze medallist who won last year’s London Marathon and who clocked his PB of 2:03:13 when finishing second to Kipchoge in last year’s Tokyo Marathon.

The pair have so far clashed three times in the marathon: once in Berlin, where Kipruto finished second in 2:06:23 behind Kipchoge’s world record run in 2018; once in Tokyo last year, where Kipchoge won in 2:02:40; and once at the Olympic Games in Japan, where Kipchoge won and Kipruto did not finish.

“On my road to the Paris Olympic Games, I like to go back to the BWM Berlin Marathon, since to me this is the perfect preparation,” said two-time Olympic champion Kipchoge, whose most recent marathon performance was a sixth-place finish in Boston in April.

“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.”

In the women’s race, Assefa will go up against athletes including Kenya’s Sheila Chepkirui, the Commonwealth Games 10,000m bronze medallist who finished fourth in the London Marathon in April in 2:18:51 and ran her PB of 2:17:29 in Valencia in December. Chepkirui also won the Berlin Half Marathon in 2022 in a course record of 1:05:02.