Stars at the start line

Bekele eyes world record in TSK 25K

By Rith Basu
  • Published 16.12.17
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Kenenisa Bekele.

Red Road: If running with 16,000 people weren't motivation enough to lace-up, the field for Sunday's big race in town includes a current world-record holder and some of the biggest names in marathon.

The star of the starting line at the Tata Steel Kolkata 25K, partnered by The Telegraph, will be Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, who holds the world record in the men's 5,000m and 10,000m and had finished five seconds shy of the marathon world record in Berlin 14 months ago.

Bekele arrived in Calcutta on Friday after a nine-hour flight from Addis Ababa and said he would go for the 25K world record on Sunday, weather permitting. "When the weather is neither too warm nor too cold, it is perfect for running. I hear that's how conditions will be. The route is pretty flat. So, unless something goes wrong, I will go for the 25km world record."

The 25K record stands at 1:11:18, a distance Bekele had crossed at 1:12:47 during the Berlin Marathon in 2016 that he won.

In the women's race, Kenyans Helah Kiprop and Valentine Kipketer are the runners to beat. Kiprop has won the Berlin Half Marathon, Seoul International Marathon and Tokyo Marathon. Kipketer is a former world-record holder in the half marathon. "We have never been in the same race. I think the competition (between us) will help both of us do better," Kiprop said.