Kenenisa Bekele is going for the marathon world record again in just 11 days. Bekele, who has the 5K world record at 12:37 and the 10K world record at 26:17 and is the second fastest marathoner ever in 2:03:03, announced last night that he's going for the world record in Dubai. 2:02:57 is the world record, held by Dennis Kimetto of Kenya. Bekele's time is the Ethiopian record. The Dubai Marathon is Friday, January 20.
According to Pat Butcher, who broke the news, Bekele said "It was fantastic for me to get a personal best [in Berlin], but I'm still disappointed to have missed out on the world record. But I could see that I still had to make a couple of changes in my training." Bekele's performance in Berlin was the second-fastest ever on a record legal course. (Geoffrey Mutai ran a wind-aided 2:03:02 in Boston in 2011.)
Just a few hours after the Dubai news broke, April's London Marathon announced that Bekele is racing there as well. Olympic silver medalist Feyisa Lilesa, Olympic 4th-placer Ghirmay Ghebreslassie, and two-time world champ/defending Chicago champion Abel Kirui will be joining Bekele in London. London is April 23, almost exactly three months after Dubai.
Conspicuously absent from the London announcement was two-time defending London champ and Olympic gold medalist Eliud Kipchoge. Nikeannounced earlier this year that Kipchoge will be attempting a sub-two-hour marathon on a non-record-legal course this spring, which means that Kipchoge and Bekele will likely have missed each other at the Olympics, Dubai, and London. Bekele was a controversial non-selection for the Ethiopian Olympic team this summer.
2:03:03 is 4:41 mile pace for 26.2 miles; 1:59:59 is 4:34 pace.