Kenenisa Bekele, the second fastest marathoner of all-time has been added to the Berlin Marathon line up, that now includes three of the distance’s five fastest men.

It is the first time Ethiopia’s Bekele and Kenyans duo Eliud Kipchoge and Wilson Kipsang will compete against each other.

Bekele, the three-time Olympic champion came within six seconds of breaking the world record in Berlin last year, despite suffering muscle problems several times during the second half of the race.

The 35-year-old, who started running the marathon in 2014, is the most successful long distance track runner in history, with three Olympic and five world titles over 5,000m and 10,000m.

For good measure, he also holds the world records for 5000m and 10,000m.

Ahead of 24th September race, Olympic champion Kipchoge stated his intention is to break the compatriot Dennis Kimetto’s 2:02:57 world marathon record.

Kimetto set the world record in 2014 becoming the first man to run the marathon in under 2:03.

Kipchoge came close during the Nike Breaking2 project in Monza Italy, running an unratifiable 2:00:25. However, his time if not officially recognised in records because he used a team of substitute pacemakers, and under normal marathon race rules a maximum of three pacemakers is allowed and no substitutes are permitted.

“In Monza, I was so close to breaking the two-hour barrier,” Kipchoge said. “The Berlin Marathon represents for me the right opportunity to attack the official world record.”

Compatriot Kipsang set a new world best in the 40th edition of this race in 2013. The 35-year-old’s record of 2:03:23 stood for just 12 months, before Kimetto’s efforts in 2014.

“It’s a dream match-up. It’s not often that the three strongest marathon men in the world race each other,” race director Mark Milde said. “As organisers, we are crossing our fingers for good weather and thrilling competition.

Below are the times of the fastest marathons on record-eligible courses, with Berlin featuring in four of the top five male world records.

Men: 5 fastest marathons

Runner Time Pace Per Mile Marathon
Dennis Kimetto (Kenya) 2:02:57 4:41.4 Berlin, 2014
Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia) 2:03:03 4:41.6 Berlin, 2016
Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya) 2:03:05 4:41.7 London, 2016
Emmanuel Mutai (Kenya) 2:03:13 4:42.0 Berlin, 2014
Wilson Kipsang (Kenya) 2:03:13 4:42.0 Berlin, 2016


Women: 5 fastest marathons

Runner Time Pace Per Mile Marathon
Paula Radcliffe (Great Britain) 2:15:25 5:09.9 London, 2003
Mary Keitany (Kenya) 2:17:01 5:13.6 London, 2017
Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia) 2:17:56 5:15.7 London, 2017
Catherine Ndereba (Kenya) 2:18:47 5:17.6 Chicago, 2001
Tiki Gelana (Ethiopia) 2:18:58 5:18.0 Rotterdam, 2012