What a spectacular autumn: Kenenisa Bekele is competing this Sunday to break the world record in the Berlin Marathon.

In November he also wants to win the New York Marathon.

The man is a legend: three times he was Olympic champion, five times world champion on the track, eleven times in cross - but actually he was already in a kind of early retirement.

Michael Reinsch

Correspondent for sports in Berlin.

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Now the feeling drives him back to the streets that he has wasted time and money.

He didn't run a race for almost two years, suffered from Corona and leased the hotel in Addis Ababa, which he ran with great commitment.

He'll be forty next year.

“He's unbelievable,” enthuses his manager Jos Hermens: “His engine is a Ferrari.

But, of course, the chassis is no longer new. ”Nonetheless, it will and should run until the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024.

"I'm in the best age for marathons", Bekele claimed on Friday in Berlin: "I still have a few years."

For the general inspection, the hit was in the Netherlands in the summer.

Six kilos overweight first had to be reduced, in addition to the coach, the nutritionist had to do.

Then, at the end of July, with only three or four pounds left on the ribs, we went back to the heights of Addis.

Because gyms were closed, the runner bought some strength training machines and had them set up in his home.

For Hermens, this is a signal of a new determination.

Kipchoge's record within reach

Hermens forced the decision not to retire Bekeles three years ago. There was the runner, poorly prepared, dropped out of the Berlin Marathon and nevertheless complained that he was paid too badly. His manager - with Eliud Kipchoge in mind, his other top client who holds the marathon world record, wins race after race and lives like a monk - had the feeling that he could no longer reach Bekele. In the FAZ, too, he accused him of rather walking around in Italian shoes than exercising, rather eating pizza than taking care of his shape.

It wasn't the first time that Bekele went out of shape over the winter. When he dropped out of the 2011 World Cup in Daegu, he said that he started the season at fifteen kilos overweight - no small matter at 1.65 meters tall. Kenenisa has a really effective metabolism, says Hermens.

The crash of 2018 meant that Bekele is now pursuing even higher goals than two years ago.

In 2019 in Berlin, he just wanted to improve his personal best, and more or less by chance got up to speed so that the record of the Kenyan Kipchoge came within reach.

He just missed it, it is rumored in Berlin because the route led around a construction site and was a few meters longer than last year.

Since then, yesterday's miracle runner has been the second fastest marathon runner in history.

He wants to improve his position on Sunday.

That is the duty this autumn: full throttle in Berlin.

New York should be a pleasure;

it's all about victory.

The bridges, to which the route rises and after which it falls, are an advantage for the former cross-champion.

Joshua Cheptegei from Uganda now holds the world records over 5,000 and 10,000 meters.

“In my eyes, I haven't lost it,” says Bekele.

Due to the new shoes, the conditions were completely different today than in his time.

No question about it: Bekele remains incomparable.