Focused Kipchoge fuels world record talk ahead of Berlin Marathon

(FILES) In this file photograph taken on October 12, 2019, Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge (C/white jersey) celebrates as he crosses the finish line at the end of his attempt to bust the mythical two-hour barrier for the marathon in Vienna. - Eliud Kipchoge, the only man to have run the marathon distance in under two hours, has played down his chances of breaking that barrier in the Berlin Marathon on September 25, 2022. (Photo by ALEX HALADA / AFP)
Eliud Kipchoge. /AFP

Kenyan long-distance star Eliud Kipchoge has fuelled talk of another world record performance in the Berlin Marathon Sunday, saying “I am trying to set a course record”.

The course record was set by Kipchoge in 2018 in a world record time of 2:01:39.

Sunday’s race will be the first time the 37-year-old takes part in the showpiece Berlin event since making history in 2018.

And asked on Friday what his objectives were on his return he replied “a good race”.

When pressed to elaborate on what exactly “a good race” means to him, he avoided talk of a world record, speaking only of beating a “course record” – which would mean a new world mark.

“A good race is a good race,” Kipchoge said with a smile to the laughs of journalists as well as fellow marathon runners Guye Adola (Ethiopia), Ghirmay Ghebreslassie (Eritrea) and Johannes Motschmann (Germany).

“That means, (a race) whereby everybody actually will be happy and inspire people (and) motivate more people.

“And in the case, it can be translated to a course record, then I will appreciate it.

“You can call it whatever you want – I am trying to set a course record.”

Sitting alongside Adola and Ghebreslassie, two of his biggest competitors on Sunday, Kipchoge doubled down on his self-focused message.

“I don’t go to Google to see how others run or YouTube to see how others run.”

Adola, who won the 2021 edition of the race and finished just 14 seconds behind Kipchoge at the 2017 Berlin marathon, said he was not focused on beating the world-record holder.

“I am well prepared and have no special plan in mind to beat him. He is also a hero for me,” Adola said.

Kipchoge was the first person to run a marathon in under two hours when he set a time of 1:59:40 in Vienna in 2019, however it did not count towards the world mark as the run was not consistent with IAAF rules.

Speaking earlier in the week, Kipchoge said the two-hour mark would be broken officially in the future – although he was not focused on such a milestone.

“One day a human will run a normal marathon under two hours,” Kipchoge said.

“I am not going to Berlin to run under two hours but to run a good race.”

“Berlin is a very good place where people can push their limits. I don’t know what my limits in Berlin will be, but I will try to push myself.”

Around 45,000 runners have registered for the event.