29th adidas Runners City Night on 31 July 2021

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Team Rosa looks for another win in Berlin


Team Rosa, the squad of Kenyan marathoners assembled and coached by the Italian, Dr Gabriele Rosa, and managed by his son, Federico has won every major big-city race around the world.  The highlight of their many successes came here in Berlin two years ago, when Paul Tergat set a world record of 2hr 04min 55sec.

The current crop of Kenyans coached by Rosa may not get that close to Tergat’s time on Sunday in the 32nd real,- BERLIN MARATHON, but it’s difficult to see beyond one of the trio comprising Peter Chebet, Michael Rotich and Raymond Kipkoech as the potential winner.

Federico Rosa said yesterday: “All three of them are in good form. Peter and Michael have been training specifically for Berlin since June, and Peter won a fast ten miles in Garda (Italy) in August. And Raymond ran a 35k time trial a couple of weeks ago, two minutes faster than when he won Berlin in 2002.”

Kipkoech himself said he’d like to get close to his winning time back then, which was 2.06.47.  But one man determined to derail the Kenyan cavalcade is Moroccan-born Frenchman, Driss El Himer. The former French Foreign Legionnaire has a best just one second slower than Kipkoech, and he’s out to run faster.

“I’ve come here specifically to break the European record of 2.06.36,” said El Himer. That record belongs to his compatriot, Benoit Zwierzchiewski. Benoit Zed, as he is known, to the relief of everyone but his Polish forebears ran that time in winning the Paris Marathon two years ago when El Himer finished fourth.

In common with the majority of big-city races, Berlin’s entry has swollen this year, to over 40,000 runners.  Some of the extra entries have come from British and Australian runners seeking a qualifying mark for the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne next March.

One of the Aussies in Berlin, Andrew Letherby won bronze at the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002, and would dearly like to race again, on home territory. Letherby needs to run under 2.14.00, but he is confident he can get close to best of 2.12.45.

“I’ve had a good year, with personal bests on the track, including 28.09 for 10,000 metres. I’d like to run fast here, then concentrate on getting a place on the track team as well. It would be nice to be qualified for two events”.

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