Geoffrey Mutai, the man who has run the fastest Marathon ever under any conditions, will lead the field at the BMW Berlin Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on 30 September.
The 30-year-old clocked a sensational 2:03:02 at the Boston Marathon last year, but the course's elevation drop rules the performance ineligible for World record purposes. The global mark remains 2:03:38, set in Berlin by Kenyan Patrick Makau last year.
It was nonetheless a spectacular performance by Mutai, who followed up with another fast race with his victory at the New York City Marathon in November, clocking a course record of 2:05:05.
His primary challengers in Berlin will be Jonathan Maiyo (26) from Kenya who ran his PB in February when he finished fourth at the Dubai Marathon (2:04:56); Deresse Chimsa (35) from Ethiopia (2:05:42); and Nicholas Kamakya (27, Kenya, 2:06:34).
There are two other possible contenders to watch out for, both first timers over the Marathon distance and both past winners of the Vattenfall Berlin Half Marathon. Kenyan Geoffrey Kipsang won the race last year and has since improved his PB at the distance to a world class level of 59:26. Dennis Kimetto (28), this year's Berlin Half Marathon winner, clocked 59:14 and several weeks later produced a World record for 25 kilometres (1:11:18).
The women´s field will probably be dominated by runners from Ethiopia and Kenya. Aberu Kebede (23) knows the course well enough after winning this race in 2010 in pouring rain. Meanwhile she has improved her PB to 2:20:33 and could be targeting a sub-2:20 this time. Her toughest contenders are Alemitu Abera (26, Ethiopia, 2:23:14), Philes Ongori (26, Kenya, 2:24:20) and Flomena Chepchirchir (30, Kenya, 2:24:21).
German newcomer Anna Hahner (22) clocked 2:30:14 in her Marathon debut in April and wants to go under 2:30 if the conditions are favourable.