Strong Ethiopian quartet to break Kenyan dominance in Berlin


A strong Ethiopian men’s quartet will be gunning to halt recent Kenyan dominance at the BMW Berlin Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road race, on 29 September.
Guye Adola, who finished second in his marathon debut two years ago in Berlin, as well as Leul Gebrselassie, Sisay Lemma and Birhanu Legese all possess the potential to win at this year’s event. Leul, Lemma and Birhanu have each triumphed over the marathon distance in the past ten months, running top-class times and all have personal bests in the region of 2:04.
In the past ten years Ethiopian runners have only won the men’s title in Germany’s most spectacular marathon on two occasions: Haile Gebrselassie in 2009 and Kenenisa Bekele in 2016. Otherwise Kenyans have dominated, breaking the world record four times. The most recent occasion was last year when Eliud Kipchoge ran a sensational 2:01:39 but he will not be running this year.
Berhanu Legese is the one runner among the Ethiopian quartet who has won an Abbott World Marathon Majors race on 2019. The 24-year-old took the title in Tokyo in March with 2:04:48 in only the third marathon of his career. In 2018 he made a spectacular debut clocking 2:04:15 in Dubai which immediately put him among the marathon elite. Even so, his time was only good enough for sixth in an extraordinarily fast race. Last autumn he finished tenth in Chicago in 2:08:41. Berhanu has already won one big race in Berlin, emerging as the surprise winner of the city’s half marathon with 59:45 in 2015. Leul and Sisay were also in action in Dubai last year, producing personal bests.