Anticipation continues to build ahead of what is being billed as the ‘Race of the Century’. This will see Kenya’s World record holder Eliud Kipchoge, race against a true legend of distance running in Kenenisa Bekele. The latter got within two seconds of Kipchoge’s official world record in Berlin and has now since returned by breaking Mo Farah’s course record at the Vitality half marathon. This now sets the three time Olympic Gold medallist on track to challenge Kipchoge in London, in just a few months’ time.
However, it is Kipchoge who is going to start as the favourite and the Kenyan is going to prove very popular in the betting markets for the race. That said, one would expect the markets to be much tighter this year, with little to choose between the two favourites meaning that a long odds-on favourite is likely out of the question. Given the interest in the race, we should expect to see some solid incentives – aside from the usual free bets and so foth, it’s worth comparing bookies in Kenya (Kipchoge’s native descent) to see if any have enhanced odds for the race – something which SBO do here. If Kipchoge is enhanced from 4/6 to 5/6, then the added value makes him backable, but it’s worth shopping around to see what options are available – especially given the fact that this is anticipated to be one of the closest races in recent years, with both athletes at the pinnacle of their game.
Kipchoge will be making his first appearance since taking part in the INEOS 1:59 challenge, that saw him run a remarkable time of 1:59:40. However, this will not go down as a world record, due to not meeting the standard competition rules for pacing and fluids. His world record for the marathon is 2:01:39, which he set when winning the 2018 Berlin marathon. That performance saw him break the previous record by an incredible 1 minute and 18 seconds. This is why he is now regarded as the greatest marathon runner in history.
— Eliud Kipchoge – EGH?? (@EliudKipchoge) October 12, 2019
Kipchoge has now ran nine official marathon races since 2013, in which he has lost just one race. This coming when running second on his debut at the 2013 Berlin marathon. Since then, it has been an incredible rise to the top, as Kipchoge continues to improve. This started with him winning the 2014 Chicago marathon, running a time of 2:04:11.
2015 was another incredible year for Kipchoge, winning his first Berlin marathon, followed by his first London marathon. Berlin saw him run a pb of 2:04:00 flat, winning the race by one minute and 21 seconds. Kipchoge then also won the 35th edition of the London race in a time of 2:04:42. The Kenyans dominance over the distance was beginning to show.
Kipchoge would then take part in just one marathon in 2016, which saw him win the London marathon for the second time. Kipchoge set a new course record as he ran a time of 2:03:05. This saw him beat another Kenyan in Stanley Biwott by just under a minute, following his customary late kick.
Moving into 2017 and Kipchoge again took part in just one marathon over the year, winning the 2017 edition of the Berlin marathon. Many predicted him to break the world record on the day, but the wet conditions played against him as he ran a solid time of 2:03:32.
Kipchoge made his next start in 2018, when winning his third London marathon. He again proved dominant on the day, running a time of 2:04:17. Kipchoge was also surprisingly the only Kenyan to finish in the top three, as Mo Farah also made the podium. Later that year saw the world record fall, as Kipchoge produced a memorable performance to win the race in a time of 2:01:39. This was one of the most dominant victories in the history of the distance, as he won the race by just under five minutes. This victory also then led to much talk of him being the person who can finally break the two hour barrier over the marathon distance.
2019 saw Kipchoge win his fourth London marathon in a time of 2:02:37. He has also now broken the two hour barrier at the INEOS challenge, and his focus will now be to do it in an official race. Kipchoge now heads into the 2020 edition of the London marathon looking to win the race for the fifth time, and extend his unbeaten run that dates back to 2013.