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Tirunesh Dibaba goes hunting for Personal Best in Berlin

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The strongest women’s field in the history of the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON will line up for the 45th edition on Sunday, including perhaps the greatest female long distance runner of all time, Tirunesh Dibaba. Among the Ethiopian’s rivals will be last year’s winner, Kenya’s Gladys Cherono and her compatriot Edna Kiplagat, a double World champion. Four women will be competing who have run under 2:20 which remains the major yardstick of excellence for the women’s marathon. It is clearly the strongest women’s field ever assembled in the German-speaking world.

As a reflection of the race’s international attraction, 133 countries will be represented among the 44,389 participants. This is a record entry figure. The BMW BERLIN-MARATHON is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race and part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series (AWMM) which also comprises Tokyo, Boston, London, Chicago and New York.. The new series, the 12th edition, of the AWMM begins in Berlin on Sunday and will also conclude with the 46th edition of the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON next September.

“I’ve heard a lot about the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON and did my research. I know very well that the course is very fast,” said Tirunesh Dibaba, whose illustrious career includes three Olympic titles for 5 and 10,000m, nine world titles in all. And she still holds the world record for 5,000m on the track. “Switching to the marathon wasn’t a problem for me,” said the 33-year-old, whose best of 2:17:56 is the third fastest marathon ever by a woman. “I improved my training in preparation for Berlin and did more volume. I am very well prepared and want to beat my best time on Sunday,” explained the Ethiopian, while some believe she is capable of getting close to the world record of 2:15:25, set by Britain’s Paula Radcliffe 15 years ago.

Berlin will mark the fourth marathon of Tirunesh Dibaba’s career. None of her previous races had pacemakers specifically for her benefit but this will not be the case on Sunday. “Pacemakers are very important for a fast time,” said Dibaba who appeared at the press conference with fingernails painted silver. Asked if silver wasn’t the colour for the runner-up, Dibaba laughed and replied: “Not on Sunday, then silver will be the winning colour!”

The course record, which has stood for 13 years, is likely to fall on Sunday, given good weather conditions. In 2005 Japan’s Olympic champion Mizuki Noguchi ran 2:19:12 in Berlin which not only broke the course record but set an Asian record and remains so to this day. “I expect that one woman will take the lead from the start and behind her a group will form which would be on course to break 2:20,” said the race director Mark Milde. There was no mistake the runner he was referring to: Tirunesh Dibaba.

Dibaba’s strongest rivals are from Kenya. Gladys Cherono won the title last year, running 2:20:23 and her best is the 2:19:25 set in winning the first of her two Berlin titles in 2015. “I want to break my personal best on Sunday,” said Cherono. Her compatriot Edna Kiplagat has been one of the marathon elite for many years. “It has always been my goal to run in Berlin. I know the course is fast and shall try to run my best ever time,” said Kiplagat, whose lifetime best is 2:19:50 and has twice won the World title (2011 and 2013).

The fourth runner with a sub-2:20 time is Dibaba’s fellow Ethiopian is Aselefech Mergia (2:19:31). While Mergia could not match these sort of results in her recent races two other runners could do very well on Sunday: Ethiopia’s Ruti Aga was last year’s runner up, when she clocked a PB or 2:20:41. Japan’s Mizuki Matsuda ran a brilliant marathon debut in January, winning in Osaka with 2:22:44.

Elite runners with personal bests


Tirunesh Dibaba
Gladys CheronoKEN2:19:25
Aselefech MergiaETH2:19:31
Edna KiplagatKEN2:19:50
Ruti AgaETH2:20:41
Mizuki MatsudaJPN2:22:44
Rei OharaJPN2:23:20 
Honami MaedaJPN2:23:48
Andrea DeelstraNED2:26:46
Inés MelchorPER2:26:48
Carla RochaPOR2:27:08
Caterina RibeiroPOR2:30:10
Ines MonteroPOR2:30:36
Rachel HannahCAN     2:32:09
Anke EsserGER2:43:14
Miyuki UeharaJPNDebut

Photo download
High quality photos can be downloaded for editorial puposes free of charge.

1.) Top-trio well prepared for the 2018 BMW BERLIN-MARATHON (Edna Kiplagat, Gladys Cherono and Tirunesh Dibaba)

copyright: SCC EVENTS/photorun

Race Statistics

5,258Inline Skaters
63Wheelchair athletes
49,890 Marathon entries (total) from 133 nations

Media schedule

Press Conferences, media office and media centre are situated in the Hotel InterContinental Budapester Str. 2, 10787 Berlin    

Friday, September 14, Press conference
10 a.m. Wheelchair athletes and handbiker: Marcel Hug (SUI), Manuela Schär (SUI), Tatyana McFadden (USA), Errol Marklein (GER) afterwards (ca. 11 a.m.) Presentation of the Elite-Running-Team BERLIN (Two german Runners and the coach), male elite runners: Eliud Kipchoge (KEN), Wilson Kipsang (KEN), Zersenay Tadese (ERI)

Fryday, September 14, 5:30 p.m., Photo call, Start of the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series XII
With: Eliud Kipchoge, Edna Kiplagat (both Kenia), Marcel Hug und Manuela Schär (both Switzerland), Tim Hadzima (AbbottWMM), Gerald Asamoah, Mark Milde

Friday, September 14, 6:30 p.m., Photo call, Meet the stars
Presentation of the Elite runners. With: Eliud Kipchoge, Wilson Kipsang, Zersenay Tadese, Tirunesh Dibaba, Edna Kiplagat und Gladys Cherono. In Addition: Presentation of a new Hall of Fame member: Ronaldo Da Costa (Winner 1998 BERLIN-MARATHON and former WR holder). Selected Guinness World Records applicants with costumes will be presented too. 
Hall of Fame, Brandenburg Gate

Saturday, September 15, 9.30 a.m., GENERALI BREAKFAST RUN at the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON 2018
With wanton mood approximately 11,000 runners will start at 9:30 am from the Schloss Charlottenburg towards the Olympiastadion.

Saturday, September 15, 3.10 p.m., mini-MARATHON of school kids
4.2195 km, Start: Potsdamer Straße, Finish: Straße des 17. Juni
Largest school kids run in Germany 10,000 runners (30th edition)

Saturday, September 15, 3.30 p.m,, BMW BERLIN-MARATHON Inline Skating
Start: Straße des 17. Juni
Largest Inline Skating marathon in the world

Saturday, September 15, 3.30 p.m, Press conference
Winner of the 2018 BMW BERLIN-MARATHON Inlineskating

Sunday, September 16, from 8.45 a.m. 45th BMW BERLIN-MARATHON
Various starts, Overview here

Sunday, September 16, 12.30 p.m., Press conference
Winner of the 2018 BMW BERLIN-MARATHON
Wheelchair athletes

Media Guide Online

The Media Guide of the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON contains info and statistics including potraits of elite runners.


The BMW BERLIN-MARATHON is part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors (AWMM), the group of six leading marathons in the world which was founded in 2006. They comprise Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York. The winners and leading finishers at the six AWMM races earn points according to their positions which culminate in an overall men’s and women’s winner at the end of a one-year-cycle.

The prize money for the winners amounts to US$ 250,000 each. Since 2016 the series has also included wheelchair athletes. An age group category for mass runners has now been added with a points system to decide men’s and women’s winners. Series XII begins with the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON 2018 and will end with the Berlin race in 2019. Further information about the scoring system for elite and mass competitors can be found at: www.worldmarathonmajors.com
For questions and further information please contact:

Thomas Steffens
Tel. +49-171-9334836
Alt-Text angeben! Follow BMW BERLIN-MARATHON on Facebook.
14053 Berlin
Telefon: +49 30-301 288 10
Telefax: +49 30-301 288 20
Managing Directors: Christian Jost, Jürgen Lock
Register court: AG Charlottenburg
Register number: HRB 20965 B
VAT No.: DE136599588
Responsible for the content according to § 6 MDStV:
Christian Jost, Jürgen Lock
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