Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge smashed the men’s world record by winning the Berlin Marathon in 2hr 1min 39sec to take 1min 18sec off the previous mark of 2:02:57 set on the same course in 2014. GARY LEMKE reports.
Kipchoge, the 33-year-old who stands just 1.66m and weighs 56kg, is also the Olympic and World Championship gold winner and ran solo from the 25km mark. From there it became him against the clock – and there was only one winner in that race as well. The great Kenyan has won 10 of his 11 marathons, finishing second once.
Berlin is generally considered the fastest of all the marathon routes and this was the fifth time that the world record had fallen in the shadow of the famous Brandenburg Gate. However, the manner in which Kipchoge destroyed the previous time was staggering and it will inevitably re-ignite the debate of man going under two hours for the marathon.
Amazingly, for there is no other adjective to describe the enormity of the performance, Kipchoge ran a negative split for the second half of the race, which means he ran the second 21.1km of the route quicker than the first 21.1km, with splits of 61:06 and 60:33. He finished strongly, despite missing his drink at the last refreshment table, closing out the final kilometre on 2min 47sec.
Last year Kipchoge had to come from behind to win in 2:03:32 but there was no such drama as he dominated from a long way out this time. To show how superior he was – is – can be seen by the fact that Amos Kipruto finished second in 2:06:22, with former world record holder Wilson Kipsang third in 2:06:47.
With three pacemakers in front of him, Kipchoge ran the first kilometre in 2:43 and went through 5km in 14:24 – which was 1:26 faster than world record pace – and passed under the 10km barrier in 29:01. That time was 23 seconds faster than Dennis Kimetto’s world record pace.
Things looked to have fallen apart for Kipchoge’s world record hopes after 15km. Within the space of a kilometre, he lost two pacemakers, forcing him to reassess and re-organise with just Josphat Boit to guide him. At 15km, Kipchoge was on pace to run 2:02:44, but that mark would be highly unlikely if Boit couldn’t hold on until at least the 25km mark.
The duo went through 25km in 1:12:24, and it was there that Kipchoge left Boit, who dropped out of the race. At 30km Kipchoge was 52 seconds ahead of WR pace and he quite simply opened up from there in a breathtaking display of creating history.
In the women’s race, Gladys Cherono won her third Berlin Marathon in 2:18:11, to break the course record by 1:01.
Photo: Maja Hitji/Getty Images