Kenyan athlete Eluid Kipchoge took an incredible 78 seconds off the previous marathon record, held by fellow Kenyan Dennis Kimetto and also set during the Berlin Marathon back in 2014. 78 seconds is the largest margin of difference in a new marathon record since 1967, when Derek Clayton broke it by 2 minutes and 24 seconds. Kipchoge adds this record to his gold medal won at the Rio Olympics and a third London Marathon win earlier this year.
“I lack words to describe this day. I am really grateful, happy to smash the world record” said Kipchoge. “It was hard. I ran my own race, I trusted my trainers, my programme, and my coach. That’s what pushed me in the last kilometres.” From the start of the race it was clear that the victory would be his, the only remaining question being how fast could be run.
His astounding time of 2 hr 01 min 39 sec is still far from his personal best. In 2017 he was the centre of a controversial attempt to break the two-hour mark for a marathon by Nike as part of their Breaking2 project. The time was not officially recognised due to there being 30 elite athletes rotating to keep up the pace. At 2 hr 00 min 25 sec, it showed that while the two hour barrier may not be attainable yet, the world record certainly is.
Kipchoge’s time is certainly an amazing breakthrough in the marathon, however the 33-year-old Kenyan has been in a league of his own for many years now. Victory in Berlin made it 10 victories out of 11 starts with this this ninth straight. A streak that has not been seen in the modern era. The only accolade he was missing was the world record.
His last two visits to Berlin showed that all he needed was the right conditions. In 2015, he won with a time of 2 hours and 4 minutes dead. This time is especially impressive considering he ran most of the race with the insoles of his shoes flapping with every step. Then in 2017, he ran 2 hours 3 minutes and 32 seconds in the wet. Finally, in his third trip to Berlin, the weather was perfect. This was his chance to break the record, a chance that he took full advantage of.