Eliud Kip­choge races into the his­tory books as Gla­dys Cherono sets course record and Manuela Schar a world best


WE KNEW Eliud Kip­choge was good as the Olympic cham­pion and three-time London

Marathon win­ner came within 25 sec­onds of the two-hour bar­rier for 26.2 miles in the Nike­or­gan­ised Break­ing2 time trial in Monza last year. Such per­for­mances have earned him a rep­u­ta­tion as the world’s great­est ever marathoner.

Yet his per­for­mance on Sun­day ex­ceeded all ex­pec­ta­tions as he ripped apart Den­nis Kimetto’s world record of 2:02:57 to set an of­fi­cial new mark of 2:01:39.

Rac­ing on a preter­nat­u­rally fast BMW Berlin Marathon course that has wit­nessed eight men’s and two women’s world records in the last 20 years and in near-ideal weather con­di­tions un­der blue late-sum­mer skies, Kip­choge banged out sub-2:55 kilo­me­tres like a metronome – with­out any pac­ing help for much of the sec­ond half of the race – be­fore charg­ing to the fin­ish by the Bran­den­burg Gate.

“It was re­ally hard,” he said, mo­ments after mak­ing his­tory, “but I was truly pre­pared to come to Berlin. I trust my prepa­ra­tion and I knew what hard work I did in Kenya and that’s what helped me in the last few kilo­me­tres. I was pre­pared to run my own race early so I wasn’t sur­prised to be alone.”

The early stages had seen him flanked by pace­mak­ers Sammy Kit­wara, Bernard Kip­ke­moi and Josphat Boit as he passed 5km in 14:24 and 10km in 29:21, but Kit­wara and Kip­ke­moi peeled off soon after 15km, which was reached in 43:38.

With only the pacer Boit now for com­pany, Kip­choge went through half­way in 61:06 be­fore Boit dropped out at 25km, leav­ing Kip­choge alone for a fi­nal, long, lonely run to the fin­ish. Kip­choge seemed un­fazed, though, as he went through 35km alone in 1:41:00 (sub-2:02 pace).

Be­hind, Wil­son Kip­sang, who handed Kip­choge the only de­feat of his marathon ca­reer on this course when set­ting a world record of 2:03:23 in 2013, was con­tent to run a few sec­onds be­hind the leader in the early stages, but grad­u­ally fell fur­ther and fur­ther be­hind as the pace took its toll.

De­spite the fierce pace, Kip­choge looked re­laxed and as if he was out for a nor­mal Sun­day morn­ing run. Amus­ingly he was also given drinks at aid sta­tions by a helper on a bi­cy­cle who en­thu­si­as­ti­cally fist-pumped the air when­ever he suc­cess­fully passed a bot­tle to the leader.

Pass­ing 40km in 1:55:32, the world record looked cer­tain and Kip­choge pow­ered home to stop the clock in 2:01:40, a time that was soon rounded to 2:01:39 after a siz­zling sec­ond­half split of 60:33.

His­tor­i­cally, it is the big­gest ad­vance in the men’s marathon world record for over 50 years since the Aus­tralian Derek Clay­ton ran 2:09:36 in Fukuoka in 1967, slic­ing two-and-a-half min­utes from Mo­rio Shige­matsu’s record.

De­spite his his­toric run, Kip­choge did not col­lapse in ex­haus­tion ei­ther. In­stead, he sprinted into the arms of his coach Pa­trick Sang and in ju­bi­lant fash­ion greeted the spectators at the fin­ish, smil­ing and cel­e­brat­ing as his achieve­ment sank in. He knew this was a Bea­monesque per­for­mance – the great­est run of his bril­liant ca­reer and co­in­ci­den­tally in the same city where Usain Bolt set his world 100m and 200m records in 2009.

“I’m re­ally grate­ful and happy to smash the world record,” said Kip­choge, who first made a name for him­self in 2003 when beat­ing Hicham El Guer­rouj and Ke­nenisa Bekele to the world 5000m ti­tle aged 18 and, more re­cently, has won 11 of his 12 marathons.

“They say you can miss (the record) two times but you can’t miss a third time! So I thank my coach and ev­ery­one who helped me do this,” he added.

“I’ll def­i­nitely re­turn to Berlin. Berlin for me is eter­nal,” he promised.

The world’s first of­fi­cial sub-2:02 marathon comes 30 years after the world’s first sub-2:07 was set with 2:06:50 by Be­layneh Din­samo in

Rot­ter­dam. Paul Ter­gat then ran the world’s first sub-2:05 with 2:04:55 in Berlin in 2003.

Ten years ago this month, Haile Ge­brse­lassie ran the world’s first sub2:04 with 2:03:59 be­fore

Pa­trick Makau re­duced the record to 2:03:38, Wil­son Kip­sang to 2:03:23 and then Kimetto clocked 2:02:57

– with amaz­ingly all these per­for­mances be­ing set in


This means the world record has fallen by 5min 11sec in the past 30 years, with now a tan­ta­lis­ing 100 sec­onds needed to go sub-two.

Be­hind, Amos Kipruto of Kenya fin­ished well on his 26th birth­day to come sec­ond in 2:06:23, ahead of Kip­sang in third with 2:06:48. Shogo Naka­mura of Ja­pan was fourth in a fine 2:08:16, while Zerse­nay Tadese, the world half-marathon record-holder and part of the Break­ing2 pro­ject with Kip­choge, ran a PB of 2:08:46 in fifth.

Paul Martel­letti – a New Zealand run­ner who is based in the UK and races for Vic­to­ria Park & Tower Ham­lets – clocked 2:17:29. Gary O’Han­lon of Ire­land ran 2:19:06, Jonathan Poole of Ser­pen­tine 2:21:14 and Jonathan Thewlis of Notts 2:23:09. But Scott Over­all, the Brit who ran a 2:10:55 break­through time in 2011 in Berlin, dropped out at around 35km after slow­ing to out­side 2:30 pace.

“Berlin was too soon for me and my coach told me this,” he said. “I didn’t lis­ten but work and fam­ily meant I couldn’t do a later one plus my heart is in Berlin. DNF for me, but I con­tinue.”

There were also no­table runs from Bri­tish mas­ters. M40s Ady Whit­wam and Chris Green­wood were inside 2:30 while there were cat­e­gory wins for M55 Nigel Rack­ham (2:38:58), W55 Su­sanna Har­ri­son (3:12:33) and W65 Caro­line Horder (3:39:07).

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