Eliud Kpchoge, second left, is not being drawn on whether he can set another marathon world record on the Berlin course tomorrow ©Getty Images

Eliud Kipchoge will run his sixth Berlin Marathon tomorrow in a confident state of mind and has not ruled out breaking his personal best and course record of 2 hours 1min 39sec - which is also the world record - set in 2018.

The Kenyan leads the field in the German capital, but last year's winner Guye Adola from Ethiopia is a threat to Kipchoge's ambitions.

"I'm thinking of running a very good race," Kipchoge said as he looked forward to the race on the famously fast and flat course.

"And if it is my personal best, I will accept it.

"But I don’t want to commit to a time.

"I will try to push myself.

"I always say, if you want to push yourself, come to Berlin."

The 37-year-old double Olympic champion, who broke the two-hour barrier when he ran 1:59:40.2 in a race in Vienna in 2019 which did not conform to regulations, will start as the clear favourite and maintains his four months of preparation in Kenya went very well.

Speaking two days before the race, Kipchoge remained opaque about his exact intentions, commenting: "I’d like to thank the organisers for letting me race again in Berlin after four years and expect a very good race.

"I’ve trained well as usual - every training day is a challenge."

Eliud Kipchoge set the marathon world in Berlin in 2018 ©Getty Images
Eliud Kipchoge set the marathon world in Berlin in 2018 ©Getty Images

In response to the obvious question at the press conference of what would be "a very good race" for him, Kipchoge answered: "A very good race is a good race," before adding: "I want to inspire people and if a course record comes out of this at the end, I will appreciate it."

The world record-holder, whose career so far has brought him victory in all but two of his 18 marathons, looks ready to achieve his fourth win in Berlin after taking the title in 2015, 2017 and 2018.

That would bring him level with the Ethiopian legend and former world record-holder Haile Gebrselassie.

Heading the list of challengers is last year's champion Adola, who took the title in unseasonably warm conditions in 2:05:45, beating his illustrious compatriot, multiple world and Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele, in the process.

Adola set his personal best of 2:03.46 in following Kipchoge home at the 2017 Berlin Marathon.

"I have prepared well and look forward to the race," said the 31-year-old, who described Kipchoge as "a hero".

The race has greater strength in depth among the men's elite field than ever before, involving 18 runners with personal bests under 2:08:00.

Among them is Eritrea's Ghirmay Ghebreslassie, surprise winner of the 2015 world title, who also won in New York the following year.

Ghebreslassie has a best of 2:05:34 which he set in finishing third in Seville in February.

Guye Adola is the defending Berlin Marathon champion ©Getty Images
Guye Adola is the defending Berlin Marathon champion ©Getty Images

"It's a big challenge to run in such a field and against Eliud Kipchoge," Ghebreslassie said.

"I'll do my best and my aim is a place on the podium."

A total of 13 Japanese runners will be among the elite starters as they seek a qualifying time for the Paris 2024 Olympics, the fastest of them being Ryu Takaku, who has run 2:06:45.

The women’s race will feature the American record-holder Keira D'Amato, who has a best of 2:19:12.

In January, the 37-year-old broke a 16-year-old American marathon record when she raced to victory in the Houston Marathon, taking 24 seconds of the previous best by Deena Kastor set in the London Marathon of 2006.

It was a remarkable run by an athlete who had quit the sport for seven years following college and who has progressed from a 2017 time of 3:14:54.

The absence of fellow American Sarah Hall and Kenya's Nancy Jelagat, another sub-2:20:00 runner, will increase D’Amato's chances of success - but there are other challengers.

Ethiopia's Gutemi Shone Imana ran 2:20:11 in Dubai in January 2020, and Kenya’s Maurine Chepkemoi is only seven seconds slower.

Organisers have registered 45,527 runners from 157 nations for the 48th edition of the event, which is part of the World Marathon Majors and is also a Platinum Label Road Race for World Athletics.