Many believe that Wilson Kipsang isn’t the favorite to win the Berlin Marathon on Sunday. Unlike Eliud Kipchoge, he isn’t the reigning Olympic champion and can’t boast a very fast but highly artificial time trial in Italy. Unlike Kenenisa Bekele, Kipsang isn’t the defending Berlin champion and isn’t a multiple-time world record holder that some consider the GOAT on the track.
So what’s the case for Kipsang to pull off the win? His consistency.
Kipsang has been the most consistent marathoner of the past decade. He ran his first sub-2:05 marathon seven years ago and has run faster than 2:04 a record four times. Kipsang’s largely solo 2:03:58 this spring in Tokyo proves he’s still at the top of his game. And let’s not forget Kipsang held the marathon world record for a year with his 2:03:23 at the 2013 Berlin Marathon.
Sure, Kipchoge hasn’t lost a marathon since Berlin in 2013 — a truly remarkable streak. But we’ve all see how hard it is to sustain success in the marathon. The high mileage training is grueling and can break down even the biggest stars of the event. For as untouchable as Kipchoge has been, he also can’t escape the fact that father time is undefeated. He’s taken down Kipchoge before so there’s no reason why he can’t do it again.
Meanwhile, Bekele has been up-and-down over the course of his marathon career. Given his unreal track PR’s (12:37.35 for 5k and 26:17.53 for 10k), one would’ve expected more from Bekele in his first couple of marathons. It took Bekele a several attempts to finally figure out the distance with a stellar 2:03:03 to win Berlin last year. From there, people might have thought he’d start dominating the event, but in his next two races, Bekele went on to DNF in Dubai and run a decent second place finish in London. There’s so many questions on what type of Bekele shows up to the starting line and you don’t get that with Kipsang.