NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 16 – Eliud Kipchoge ran the race of his life on Sunday morning smashing Dennis Kimetto’s four-year old World Record enroute to winning the Berlin Marathon running in a time of 2:01:39.
Meanwhile, Gladys Cherono completed a golden Kenyan double in the streets of Berlin, successfully defended her crown in a new course record time of 2:18:11
Cherono withstood the challenge of the Ethiopian duo of Ruti Aga and Tirunesh Dibaba to strike her third Berlin crown having also won it in 2015 but missed the 2016 showpiece due to injury. Aga came second in 2:18:34 while Dibaba was third crossing the line in 2:18:55.
Kenya’s Edna Kiplagat finished fourth in a time of 2:21:18 and made history of her own by becoming the first female athlete to run in all major marathons and finishing within the top six in all.
But the toast of the day belonged to Eliud, arguably the best marathoner to ever grace the sport.
“I had a great belief that I would run a World record but I dint know I would run 2:01. That’s what I believed (breaking World Record) and I am happy for it.”
“It wasn’t a plan (running without pacemakers) because I thought I would go with them to 30km but it was unfortunate. But, I had the belief and I was really ready for Berlin I had top push on my own,” the ecstatic Kipchoge said after the historic feat.
He added jokingly; “What next for me now is that I have run 2:00, now 2: 01, next is to run 2:02, so that I have all the times in my arms.”
The Olympic champion led a Kenyan 1-2-3 sweep of the podium, youngster Amos Kipruto coming second on his birthday in a time of 2:06:24 while former World record holder Wilson Kipsang finished third in 2:06:48.
The 33-year old who came eight seconds close to breaking the 2:02:57 mark at the London Marathon in 2016 ran a race against the clock almost the entire race becoming the first man ever to run the marathon under two hours and two minutes, as he achieved a target he had longed for.
An ecstatic Kipchoge cut the tape with glee and excitement written all over his face, thumping his chest with both arms and letting out a scream that told just half the story of how much the record meant for him.
Kipchoge ran virtually half the race alone after dropping the last pacemaker Josephat Bout at the 25km mark having taken him through in 1:12:24 which was 36 seconds within World Record pace. His face never showed any signs of fatigue or worry and by the Half Marathon point, he had run in 1:0046.
If it was expected that Kipchoge would be slowing down as the race progressed, then ‘the great philosopher’ went exactly the opposite direction.
He kept injecting the pace and by the 30km mark, he was a massive 52 seconds inside World Record pace having covered the distance in a time of 1:26:45.
His split of 14:21 between the 25km and 30km mark was the fastest ever recorded in a Marathon, breaking his own previous mark set at the London Marathon in 2016 where he came close to breaking the record having covered the same distance in 1:27:13.
As the race progressed, it was now never a question of if, but when he would be breaking the World Record, for the seventh time in the same course, over the last 15 years.
With two kilometres to go, it was now evident, Kimetto’s record was going to fall. Kipchoge had covered 40km in a time of 1:56:32, a whooping 57 seconds of the record.
He accelerated over the final two kilometres and with his eyes on the finishing line shone the crowd with his infectious smile, striding to cut the tape in a new record time, by a whooping one minute and 18 seconds.
While Kipchoge savored his victory and the new record time, Kipruto who was celebrating his 24th birthday held his own to come in for second while Kipsang who dropped out of the race last year finished third.