BERLIN — He did it again.
Two-time Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge bettered his own world record in the Berlin Marathon on Sunday.
The Kenyan star clocked 2 hours, 1 minute, 9 seconds to shave 30 seconds off his previous best of 2:01:39 set on the same course in 2018.
“My legs and my body still feel young,” said the 37-year-old Kipchoge. “But the most important thing is my mind, and that also feels fresh and young. I’m so happy to break the world record.”
that of Ethiopia Tigist Assefa unexpectedly won the women’s race in a course record of 2:15:37 – 18 minutes faster than she had ever run before. It was the third fastest time ever.
“I wasn’t afraid of my rivals, even though they had faster times than me,” said Assefa.
Rosemary Wanjiru of Kenya was second on her debut in 2:18:00 – the second fastest debut ever run – just ahead of Ethiopian runner Tigist Abayechew in 2:18:03.
Conditions in the German capital were ideal for a fast race – cool, around 52 degrees (11 degrees Celsius) after a night of heavy rain, no more precipitation and no wind. Some 45,527 runners from 157 nations have been registered to take part in the first Berlin Marathon without restrictions since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Participant numbers were cut by almost half under strict restrictions last year, and the 2020 race was canceled due to the pandemic.
Kipchoge set off at a blistering pace on Sunday, covering the first 10 kilometers in just 28:23 and clocking 42:32 at the 15k mark, suggesting a sub two-hour attempt. He broke the two-hour barrier in Vienna in 2019 when he ran 1:59:40 in a race that does not comply with regulations.
Defending champion Guye Adola and Ethiopian compatriot Andamlak Belihu managed to match the pace, initially, but Adola fell back a few meters when Kipchoge measured kilometers between 2:47 and 2:50.
Kipchoge and Belihu completed the half marathon in just 59:51. Adola and Kenyan runners Abel Kipchumba, Mark Korir and Bethwel Yegon followed in 01:01:25.
“I planned to come out fast in the first half,” Kipchoge said.
The last pacemaker fell at the 25k mark, leaving Kipchoge on his own, but Belihu stayed on his heels.
Kipchoge slowed down a bit reaching the 30k mark in 1:25:40. Belihu was unable to continue and trailed 21 seconds behind before falling further back.
At this stage it was only a question of whether Kipchoge would break his own record. He did.
Compatriot Mark Korir was second, almost five minutes behind, followed by Ethiopian runner Tadu Abate. Belihu, who stayed the longest with Kipchoge, finished fourth in 2:06:40.