Birhanu Legese

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Berlin Marathon likely to have fast times despite depleted field

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The final race of the World Marathon Majors series, the Berlin Marathon, is often the fastest. Five of the six fastest marathons on the IAAF all-time list, including Eliud Kipchoge‘s record of 2:01:39, have been run in Berlin.

This year’s race on Sunday morning will be missing some top runners because it coincides with the world championships in Doha as well as Kipchoge’s upcoming effort to break the two-hour mark under controlled conditions, but the men’s start list still includes five runners who have broken the 2:05 mark, and defending women’s champion Gladys Cherono of Kenya also is set to run.

Kipchoge leads the World Marathon Majors standings, but Ethiopian Birhanu Legese can move into a tie with a win in Berlin. The top finishes in the major races count toward the standings, so Kipchoge couldn’t improve on his tally of 50 points (wins last year in Berlin and earlier this year in London) even if he were entered in Berlin. Legese’s only scoring race so far is his win in the Tokyo Marathon.

In the women’s standings, Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei also has the maximum of 50 points and is not entered in Berlin. Cherono can move up to 50 with a win this weekend.

World championship marathons also count toward the standings, which means Ethiopian’s Ruti Aga can move up to a perfect 50 with a win in Doha.

Berlin also features inline skaters rolling over the marathon course. Belgian skater Bart Swings, who also competes on ice and took silver in the 2018 Olympic mass start, has won the men’s race six straight years.

NBC Sports Gold will have live coverage at 3 a.m. EDT Sunday.

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