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kenyan Eliud Kipchoge broke his own world record by winning the Berlin Marathon, with a time of 2:01:09 to lower the previous record of 2:01:39 he set in the German capital in 2018.
Kipchoge, 37 and a two-time Olympic champion, won his 15th victory in 17 career marathons to cement his claim as the greatest 26.2-mile runner in history.
His pace was not ideal. Kipchoge slowed in the final miles, running 61:18 for the second half after coming out in an all time 59:51 for the first 13.1 miles. He still won by 4:49 over the Kenyan Marc Korir.
“I had planned to go there [the halfway mark] 60:50, 60:40,” Kipchoge said. “My legs were actually running really fast. I thought, let me try to run two hours flat, but overall I’m happy with the performance.
“We went too fast [in the first half]. It takes energy from the muscles. …there’s even more to my legs [to possibly lower the record again].”
MORE: Berlin Marathon Results
Ethiopian Tigiste Assefa won the women’s race in 2:15:37, the third fastest time in history for someone who has ever run a marathon in 2:34:01. Only Brigitte Kosgei (2:14:14 in Chicago in 2019) and Paula Radcliffe (2:15:25 in London in 2003) went faster.
American record holder Keira D’Amato, who entered the top seed, finished sixth in 2:21:48. D’Amato, who spent nearly a decade between competitive races after college, holds the American record of 2:19:12 and now also the 10th fastest time in U.S. history.
“Today wasn’t my best day, but it was the best I could do today,” she said in a text message, according to Race Results Weeklyadding that she briefly stopped and walked late in the race.
The last eight times the men’s marathon world record has been broken has been on the flat roads of Berlin. It all started in 2003, when the Kenyan Paul Tergat became the first man to break 2:05.
The world record was 2:02:57 – set by the Kenyan Denis Kimetto in 2014 – until Kipchoge first broke it four years ago.
The following year, Kipchoge became the first person to run 26.2 miles in under two hours, clocking 1:59:40 in a non-record-eligible showcase rather than a race.
Kipchoge’s goal going forward is to try to become the first runner to win three Olympic marathon titles in Paris in 2024. He also wants to win all six annual World Marathon Majors. He ticked off four, missing only Boston (in April) and New York (in November).
Kipchoge grew up on a farm in Kapsabet, Kenya’s Rift Valley, often bicycling several liters of family milk to sell at the local market. Raised by a kindergarten teacher, he ran more than three miles to and from school. He saved for five months to get his first pair of running shoes.
At 18, he upsets the legends Hicham El Guerrouj and Kenenisa Bekele to win the 2003 world title in the 5000m track. He won Olympic medals in the 5,000m (bronze in 2004 and silver in 2008), then switched to the marathon after failing to make the 2012 Olympic team on the track.
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