Berlin Marathon 2017: World record could be broken 'by half a minute' in greatest men's field of all time

Ben Bloom
Wilson Kipsang, Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele are preparing to do battle in Berlin

The men's marathon world record could be smashed by half a minute in Berlin tomorrow morning, according to the man responsible for compiling what is the finest elite field of all time.

Reigning Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge, triple Olympic track champion Kenenisa Bekele and former world record holder Wilson Kipsang will do battle over the streets of Berlin, with all three targeting the existing two hours two minutes 57 seconds world record.

That mark was set by Dennis Kimetto at the 2014 Berlin Marathon and the last six world records have come on the German capital's flat course.

With Kipchoge coming into the race fresh off the back of his 2:00.25 Nike-sponsored marathon under artificial conditions - and not counting towards official records - earlier this year, the Kenyan is odds-on to break the world record tomorrow.

"This is like a dream come true," Mark Milde, Berlin Marathon race director, told Telegraph Sport.

Kipchoge came close to breaking the two-hour mark under artificial conditions earlier this year  Credit: ap

"It depends much on the weather, but if the weather is OK - and we have the usual good weather that we've had in recent years in Berlin - I am quite confident that the record will go.

"We have recruited the pacemakers in a way that they can, on a perfect day, go out at world record pace.

"It's about trying to get these runners into a mental place where they work together as long as possible and the competition element kicks in only at a later part. So when the pacemakers drop out with 10km to go, they don't start looking around but try to keep up the race with the pace high.

"The world record has stood for three years. We think they can lower it, not just by two or three seconds but maybe half a minute."

Berlin Marathon | The Big Three

While cool conditions are expected for the race, Milde will be desperately hoping the forecast rain fails to materialise. Both Ethiopian Bekele and Kipsang, of Kenya, have winning experience in Berlin - Bekele prevailed in a thrilling duel between the pair last year - but it is Kipchoge who heads the field, having won a remarkable seven of his eight career marathons.

He last took on the Berlin course in 2015 when he triumphed despite bloodied and blistered feet caused by his insoles malfunctioning and coming loose.

"I think this is a really important year," said Kipchoge. "The first time I went to Berlin I was learning the ropes on how to handle marathon, the second one was normal and I had no unique target, but this one I have a goal of a world record.

"It's a special year and special race for me."

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