Berlin Marathon to attract 25,000 runners

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Berlin Marathon organisers expect around 25,000 runners to take part on Sunday, making it the biggest marathon since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The event was cancelled last year because of the global health crisis but returns on the streets of the German capital.

"The time is ripe for us to send a signal to the outside world that we are still a sports metropolis," Juergen Lock, managing director of organiser SCC Events, said.

He expects more than 90 per cent of participants to be either fully vaccinated or to have recovered from a coronavirus infection.

All others must undergo a PCR test no earlier than 48 hours before the start.

Wearing masks in the start and finish areas is mandatory for runners, as well as for all spectators along the 42.195km course.

"All runners can run liberated," Lock said.

With two smaller events in recent weeks including a half marathon, the organisers have gained experience for the big event, which will be held on the same day as the German general election.

The most prominent runner is Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele.

The 39-year-old missed the world record of Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya by only two seconds in his victory in 2019 in two hours one minute 41 seconds.

Kipchoge set the mark in Berlin in 2018.

The women's field is led by Hiwot Gebrekidan, the Ethiopian who ran a year's best 2:19:35 in Milan.

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