Berlin, Germany, September 16—Almost 50 years after Bob Beamon extended the long jump World Record by almost 2ft, Eliud Kipchoge produced a Beamonesque effort on the streets of Berlin taking 78 seconds off Dennis Kimetto’s ’14 World Record, clocking a spectacular 2:01:39.
“I feel great to have run a World Record in the marathon,” Kipchoge beamed after claiming the one missing honor amidst his sheer domination of the 42-kilometer distance over the past 5 years. “The race went as planned,” the 33-year-old Kenyan vet said of his effort to claim the legal record after clocking a technologically-aided 2:00:25 in Nike’s Breaking2 event in Monza in May of ’17. “I remember last year when I started the season we had planned for history in Berlin where someone had first run 2:02, 2:03, and 2:04, so we joked about making history by running 2:01.”
Like the idealized Italian affair, this race was a rather singular race against the clock that began with a robust opening 2:45 kilometer before Kipchoge and a trio of pacers settled into a 2:55/kilo clip on a near perfect day with still winds. Kipchoge & Co. cruised past 10K in 29:01, 2:02:27 pace. At 12K, lead pacer Sammy Kitwara stepped off the course and the tempo suffered a bit as the remaining trio crossed 15K at a 2:02:45 tempo.
“I realized that it was a little bit slow,” Kipchoge admitted, “but we picked it up.” After a couple of 2:51 and 2:52 Ks, the pacer woes continued as Bernard Kipkemoi retired, leaving only Josphat Boit for company. No worry for Eliud as Boit is part of his training group and the duo passed halfway in 61:06, and 25K (1:12:24) at a 2:02:13 clip. Then Boit stepped aside, leaving Kipchoge to solo the final 17km.
Once again, no problem as the running-free Kipchoge lifted the pace even higher, crossing 30K in a “World Record” 1:26:45 (a 2:02:00 pace). As he noted, “I trained the past 4 months in a positive atmosphere and I had full faith in my fitness. It was good to be on a schedule at halfway and try to maintain that pace. I didn’t want to risk anything and I wanted to be in a good position after 30 kilometers and then I had to concentrate purely on running under 2:02.”
Exhibiting no signs of fatigue, the leader pushed the pace well under 2:02 with a 28:47 segment between 30 and 40K that will long serve as a demonstration of biomechanical perfection. Cruising along in an ever-fluid and efficient stride, Kipchoge smiled his way about Berlin’s venerable lightning-quick circuit, obviously full of run and enjoying the moment.
He poured it on with a 2:49 for K No. 41, closing out his historic clocking with 6:08 over the final 2195m. “My mind was not tired,” the Kenya kingpin recalled. “Knowing that there was no way that the World Record could escape me, so when I saw that I could run 2:01, that is where my energy came from.”
Dashing through the Brandenburg Gate, Kipchoge hit the tape to seize his ninth marathon victory in 10 attempts, cementing his position as the greatest marathoner ever as he captured the elusive WR with much gusto and appreciation. “I am really grateful to those who worked with me closely: my coach Patrick Sang, my family and close friends, my teammates, my Global management team, the Nike company, that is a big team that helped me run two hours and one minute,” he said.
He added, “I also want to say thanks for the spectators that pushed me from the first kilometer to the last kilometer; they really pushed me. It was like having music in my ears, and without them I couldn’t run this fast time.”
Having pushed the record maybe even out of his own reach, Kipchoge looked ahead whimsically to a new challenge. “Because I have 2:00, 2:01, 2:03, 2:04 and 2:05 so I need to run 2:02.”
Note: Read about the Berlin ’18 women’s race, also historic, here.
BERLIN MARATHON MEN’S RESULTS
World Marathon Major; Berlin, Germany, September 16—
1. Eliud Kipchoge (Ken) 2:01:39 WR (old WR 2:02:57 Dennis Kimetto [Ken] ’14) (30K—1:26:45 “WR”—old, 1:27:13 Kipchoge ’16 & Stanley Biwott [Ken] ’16) (4:38.4/mile)
(5Ks—14:24, 14:37 [29:01], 14:37 [43:38], 14:18 [57:56], 14:28 [1:12:25], 14:21 [1:26:45], 14:17 [1:41:03], 14:29 [1:55:31], 6:08)
(10Ks—29:01, 28:55 [57:56], 28:49 [1:26:45], 28:47 [1:55:31], 6:08)
2. Amos Kipruto (Ken) 2:06:23; 3. Wilson Kipsang (Ken) 2:06:48; 4. Shogo Nakamura (Jpn) 2:08:16 PR; 5. Zersenay Tadese (Eri) 2:08:46 PR; 6. Yuki Sato (Jpn) 2:09:18; 7. Okbay Tsegay (Eri) 2:09:56 PR; 8. Daisuke Uekado (Jpn) 2:11:07; 9. Wily Canchanya (Per) 2:12:57 PR; 10. Bart van Nunen (Neth) 2:13:09 PR; 11. Wellington da Silva (Bra) 2:13:43 PR; 12. Vagner Noronha (Bra) 2:14:57 PR; 13. Fernando Cabada (US) 2:15:00; 14. Nick van Peborgh (Bel) 2:15:04; 15. Thomas De Bock (Bel) 2:15:19 PR; 16. Kenta Murayama (Jpn) 2:15:37; 17. Brendan Martin (US) 2:16:26; 18. Malcolm Hicks (NZ) 2:16:28 PR; 19. Julian Spence (Aus) 2:16:39 PR; 20. Paul Martelletti (NZ) 2:17:29; 21. Luis Alberto Orta (Ven) 2:17:48; 22. Gary O’Hanlon (Ire) 2:19:06; 23. Gerd Devos (Bel) 2:19:14 PR; 24. Berihun Wuve (Isr) 2:19:45; 25. Brady Threlfall (Aus) 2:19:53 PR.