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When Kenenisa Bekele lines up for the BMW Berlin Marathon this Sunday, September 26 it marks the beginning of an unprecedented period of marathon racing. Due to Covid-related postponements, five of the six Marathon Majors will be staged within a 42-day period.

If you’re a fan of the classic 26.2-mile distance, then you are definitely in for a feast.

Bekele is clearly excited by the prospect as he is racing in not just one but two of these races. After Berlin on Sunday he will attempt to recover and re-boot before tackling the New York City Marathon in early November.

Here is how the autumn marathon period plays out…

Sept 26 – Berlin

Oct 3 – London

Oct 10 – Chicago

Oct 11 – Boston

Nov 7 – New York

Tokyo Marathon, which is also one of the Marathon Majors, was due to take place on October 17 too, but has been called off due to the pandemic. However the TCS Amsterdam Marathon is still on October 17 – and this Dutch race often sees fast times – whereas the NN Rotterdam Marathon on October 24 is usually similarly swift.

First comes Berlin, though. Bekele has not raced since March last year and during this time he has seen his world 5000m and 10,000m records fall to Joshua Cheptegei. Last October he was due to race in London but withdrew on the eve of the race with a calf injury. He is now aged 39 but don’t write him off. People thought he was a spent force in 2019 but he came within two seconds of the world record with 2:01:41 in Berlin.

“I will come back with good energy and motivation,” says Bekele. “The last race in Berlin motivated me a lot, so I hope I will fulfil my plan this year.”

Bekele will be among around 25,000 runners in Berlin as mass participation road running emerges from the pandemic. His opposition on Sunday includes Guye Adola, an Ethiopian who ran the world’s fastest ever debut marathon of 2:03:46 in Berlin four years ago but has struggled to improve since.

There is also Eliud Kiptanui of Kenya, who has run 2:05:21, plus a further eight men who have run inside 2:07 such as Philemon Kacheran and Festus Talam of Kenya, Olika Adugna and Tadu Abate of Ethiopia, plus Hidekazu Hijikata of Japan.

Adugna won his debut marathon in Dubai in 2:06:15 while Hijikata took the Lake Biwa Marathon victory earlier this year.

Source: AW

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