Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge crosses the line with a new marathon world record

Berlin (AFP) – Kenyan great Eliud Kipchoge smashed his world marathon record by 30 seconds, clocking 2:1:9sec in Berlin on Sunday.

Halfway through, it looked as though the successive Olympic champions in Rio and Tokyo had become the first to officially run under the elusive two-hour mark.

But despite a slight slowdown, the 37-year-old held his best record from Berlin in 2018.

After the race, he credited his team with the result.

“I was very happy with my preparations,” Kipchoge told German television.

“The world record is due to true teamwork.”

Asked if he had already returned to Berlin to endure two hours, Kipchoge said he was focused on celebrating his achievement.

Let’s plan another day. I need to celebrate that record.”

Kenyan Mark Currier finished second after his compatriot with a time of 2:05:58, while Ethiopia’s Tadu Abate was third with a time of 2:06:28.

Ethiopian Andamlak Pelehu, who continued Kipchoge about two-thirds of the race, finished fourth.

In the women’s field, Ethiopian Tegest Asefa set the third fastest time in history, setting a course record of 2:15:37.

Assefa was not among the favorites before the race and thrillingly beat her best ever by 18 minutes.

Kipchoge, who said on Friday his only goal is to “run a good race,” came out of the hurdles, aiming not just to set a world record but to beat the two-hour mark.

A group of about seven riders continued with Kipchoge for the first 10 kilometres, before 2021 winners Guye Adola and Belihiu drifted away after 15 kilometres.

Adola couldn’t maintain the pace and started backtracking after 18 kilometers, with both Kipchoge and Belihu hitting the half-marathon mark in less than an hour.

Kipchoge came out on his own after 25km and was still on his way to the under two-hour mark, but started to slow down a bit despite still holding the world record in his sights.

Kipchoge became the second man to win four Berlin Marathons, joining Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie who owned the event from 2006 to 2009.

He boasts an unparalleled marathon record, having now won 15 out of 17 matches during the event, including not only his Olympic victories but also 10 World Marathon victories.

The women’s field was also one of the fastest races in marathon history, with four women sprinting two hours and 20 minutes.

Only one of the women participating in Berlin, American Kira D’Amato, had previously run at this historic time.

Kenya’s Rosemary Wanjiru came in second with a time of 2:18:00 in her first-ever marathon, making it the second-fastest debut time for a woman ever.

Ethiopia’s Tegest Abeshio came third with a time of 2:18:03, while fellow national Workneesh Edesa also ran under the 2:20:00 mark.

D’Amato came sixth with a time of 2:21:48.