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Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge breaks world marathon record

Free Press wire reports | 9/20/2018, 6 a.m.
Kenya’s Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge pulverized the marathon world record with a blistering run last Sunday, slicing a staggering 78 ...
After sprinting through the Brandenburg Gate, Eliud Kipchoge crosses the finish line to break the tape and a world record Sunday at the Berlin Marathon. He is the first person ever to finish a 26.6-mile marathon in less than 2 hours and 2 minutes. Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

BERLIN

Kenya’s Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge pulverized the marathon world record with a blistering run last Sunday, slicing a staggering 78 seconds off the previous best to land the one major running crown that had eluded him.

The 33-year-old, widely seen as the greatest marathon runner of the modern era, ran an official time of 2 hours, 1 minute and 39 seconds on a sunny day along the flat inner-city course in Berlin, smashing fellow Kenyan Dennis Kimetto’s previous record that had stood since 2014.

Kenyan Gladys Cherono won the women’s race with a course record and best time of the year of 2:18:11, leaving Ethiopians Ruti Aga and pre-race favorite Tirunesh Dibaba in second and third place, respectively.

Kipchoge, who last year took part in the Nike Breaking Two project, where he ran 2 hours and 25 seconds with the aid of “illegal” in and out pacemakers, started off Sunday on the Berlin course at a sizzling pace.

After quickly shaking off his biggest rival, Kenyan and former world record holder Wilson Kipsang, and with virtually no wind, it was clear Kipchoge’s only opponent would be the clock.

His three pacemakers were pushed to the limit to keep the tempo high as Kipchoge dipped well below world record time at the halfway mark.

Yet even after the last pacemaker peeled off after 15.5 miles, Kipchoge showed no sign of slowing down as thousands of Berliners lining the streets egged him on.

Berlin has now been the stage for the last six men’s world records over the distance.

“It was hard running alone, but I was confident. I ran my own race, I trusted my trainers, my program and my coach. That’s what pushed me in the last kilometers,” Kipchoge said, adding that he could have gone even faster had the pacemakers stayed with him up to the 18.6 mile mark.

Kipchoge kept up the pace to sprint through the Brandenburg Gate and complete a world record race that cements his reputation as one of the greatest runners of all time.

“I lack words to describe this day,” Kipchoge said after becoming the first person to finish a marathon in less than 2 hours and 2 minutes.

“They say you miss two times, but you can’t miss the third time,” he said, referring to his two previous attempts to break the world record in Berlin.

A total of 44,389 runners from 133 countries took part in the marathon, organizers said.

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulated Kipchoge minutes after his win as well as second place winner Amos Kipruto and Kipsang, who completed the African nation’s podium sweep.

“Congratulations Eliud Kipchoge for breaking the world record at the Berlin marathon 2018. I also congratulate his compatriots Amos Kipruto & Wilson Kipsang for going out valiantly to bring a 1-2-3 victory for #TeamKenya. You are our heroes. Kenya is proud of you,” President Kenyatta wrote on Twitter.

Kipchoge has won almost every major marathon, including 11 of the 12 marathons he has raced in, including the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.