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Eliud Kipchoge demolishes world marathon record in Berlin

Kipchoge made history yet again, running the first half of the marathon in an astounding 59:51

Photo by: Kevin Morris

Eliud Kipchoge astounded the world again on Sunday, winning the Berlin Marathon for the fourth time in a world record of 2:01:09.

Although the greatest marathoner in history never directly implied he was out to break his 2018 world record of 2:01:39 prior to Berlin, he delivered, taking a full 30 seconds off his previous mark.

Kipchoge, 37, started at a blistering speed led by three pacers, crushing all the splits in his first half to run a remarkable 59:51 (the fastest opening half in any marathon). His average pace was 2:52 per km.

Kipchoge was surprisingly greeted with the company of Ethiopian half-marathon specialist Andamlak Belihu until 25 km, who held a previous personal best of 2:09:43, heading into Berlin. Defending champion Guye Adola of Ethiopia simply wasn’t able to hang on to the leaders, and fell back shortly after the opening 10K.

Kipchoge was on a sub-two-hour marathon pace for the majority of the race, until his pace slowed to 2:57/km around the 35 km mark. 

The double Olympic champion stormed to the finish to earn his fourth Berlin Marathon title. With this win, Kipchoge ties the great Haile Gebrselassie, who also holds four Berlin Marathon titles. Ethiopia’s Belihu ended up paying the price for his alarmingly fast first half, falling back to finish fourth in 2:06:40, while Mark Korir of Kenya nabbed second in 2:05:58, just off his PB, in his first world major marathon. Tadu Abate of Ethiopia finished third in 2:06:28.

In the women’s race, American favourite Keira D’Amato dropped off the lead women’s pack right from the start, leading some to question if she was racing too soon following her eight-place performance at the world championships in July. The women’s race was won by Tigist Assefa of Ethiopia with a new course record of 2:15:37, in only her second marathon; this is the third fastest performance in women’s marathon history.

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