Marathon world record holder Patrick Makau.

A little more than one year ago, I wrote how Patrick Makau had reason to smile after he set a new marathon world record, clocking 2:03:38 in Berlin, Germany. While the Kenyan is still the world record holder, his spirit and confidence have been tested in 2012, a year that so far has been marked more by disappointment than success.

In April, the 27-year-old Makau dropped out of the London Marathon at about the halfway mark with a hamstring problem. Just a few days later, Kenya announced its

Makau during his world record run in Berlin in 2011.

Olympic marathon team, and Makau, to the surprise of many, was not included. His performance in the London Marathon probably cost him a shot at competing again in the British capital during the Olympics. Had Makau won the race or finished among the top-three, I think he would have run at the Olympics.

Patrick Makau shows off his world record time during a promotional appearance in Frankfurt.

Makau now has his sights set on a return trip to Germany, where he will run the BMW Frankfurt Marathon October 28th. Like Berlin, the Frankfurt course is flat and fast, and Makau would like nothing better than to lower his world record. Last year in Frankfurt, 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Wilson Kipsang came within four seconds of Makau’s mark, setting a course record of 2:03:42.

Makau says his training for Frankfurt has gone well, and he’s been inspired recently by fellow-Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai. He says he watched on television when Mutai ran the year’s fastest time of 2:04:15 in winning the Berlin Marathon September 30th. “Having seen the Berlin race,” says Makau, “this has motivated me for Frankfurt.”