Kenenisa Bekele is confident of victory ahead of his fourth appearance at the London Marathon
Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest marathon runner of all time, has landed in the UK for the 2022 TCS London Marathon on Sunday 2 October.
Boasting an astonishing personal best of 2:01:41, Bekele’s time is just 32 seconds slower than the new world record, set at the Berlin Marathon on Sunday by Eliud Kipchoge (KEN). Before that, his time was only two seconds shy of the quickest marathon ever recorded.
And yet, despite this achievement – and winning the Berlin Marathon himself on two occasions – Bekele has not yet succeeded on the streets of London. Now, on his fourth attempt at the race, the Ethiopian legend hopes to rewrite his London Marathon story.
“I’m expecting to get a good result at this race”, he said. “Of course, I’m here to win!”
Bekele has, like all athletes, battled with injuries in the past, but he believes his block of training for London has gone well this year.
“I am confident that I can achieve the fast times I have run in the past. It isn’t easy, but it is possible.
“Of course, I’m not perfect and I feel like I haven’t achieved what my fans want from me just yet. But on the other hand, it doesn’t matter how many times you win a race – how many people can run this time [2:01:41, Bekele’s PB]? Only two athletes so far.”
Finish times and positions aside, it is the vibrant atmosphere of London that continues to draw Bekele back.
He said: “The London Marathon is a really great race with great organisation – for me, it is the number-one marathon. The spectators are very good people and I always want to give back to my fans, which is why I love coming back to London every time.
“Most of the time I focus on my race, but the crowd always gives me motivation to do better.”
Marathon running is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Bekele’s running success, however. Before stepping up to the 26.2-mile distance, he enjoyed a decorated career as a track athlete, which saw him win three Olympic and five World Championship gold medals across the 5000m and 10,000m – distances for which he previously held the world record.
Bekele’s talents have even extended to cross country running, having won an impressive 11 gold medals at World Cross Country Championships during the 2000s.
Now aged 40, some say that Bekele will be looking to retire from the sport shortly after London – but the man himself thinks otherwise.
“My mind tells me that I am not ready to retire,” he said. “Now is not my time to stop.”
There is no doubt that Bekele is one of the greatest distance runners of all time – if not, as some may argue, the greatest. He is sure to deliver another exceptional performance this Sunday as he guns for that elusive London Marathon victory.