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Posted: July 21, 2009  :

(RRW) Athletics: Kibet To Challenge Gebrselassie At Berlin Marathon

From David Monti

© 2009 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

The two fastest marathoners of all-time, Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassie and Kenya's Duncan Kibet, will face each other at September's real,-- Berlin Marathon, race organizers announced today.

Gebrselassie, twice an Olympic gold medalist at 10,000m, has won the last three editions of the marathon in Berlin, lowering his time with each effort and twice setting the world record. In 2006 he was on schedule through 35 km to break Paul Tergat's then world record of 2:04:55 set on the same Berlin course in 2003, but he faded in the final kilometers in warm and windy conditions to run an Ethiopian record of 2:05:56. The following year, helped by pacemakers Eshetu Wondimu and Rodgers Rop through 30-K, Gebrselassie broke Tergat's mark with a 2:04:26 clocking. He came back again in 2008, and lowered his own record to 2:03:59, which remains the world record.

Kibet became history's second-fastest marathoner at Rotterdam last April when he prevailed in a thrilling sprint finish over compatriot James Kwambai. Both men were clocked in 2:04:27, the fastest marathon times of 2009. Kibet only ran his first marathon in Vienna in 2008, clocking a solid 2:08:33 to finish second. He won at Milan later that year in a course record 2:07:53. Amazingly, the Rotterdam run was only Kibet's third career marathon.

Separately, the New York Times reported today that Beijing Olympic Marathon gold medalist Samuel Wanjiru, will run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October. The Chicago race has a very flat course and, with good weather, is ideal for running fast times.

"My plan for the fall is to lower my personal record, and the Chicago Marathon course is the best opportunity for me to achieve that," the Times quoted Wanjiru as saying through a statement.

A formal announcement on Wanjiru's participation at Chicago is expected out later today.

In addition, the Times article, written by veteran journalist Jeré Longman, also reported that 2008 USA Olympic Trials Marathon champion Ryan Hall would run the ING New York City Marathon this year, and that a formal announcement would come later this week.

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