In the women’s race, Florence Kiplagat ran under 2:20.
Written by David Monti
(c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.
Kenya’s Patrick Makau set a pending world marathon record on Sunday morning, successfully defending his title at the BMW Berlin Marathon and clocking 2:03:38, the second mark ever under two hours and four minutes. With his run today, Makau toppled Haile Gebrselassie’s previous world standard of 2:03:59 set at the same race three years ago. Gebrselassie, who also raced in Berlin today, dropped out between 35 and 40 kilometers.
“I came to Berlin to win,” said Makau who turned down offers to run at other marathons this fall so he could focus on attempting the world record. “At the halfway point I knew that I could break the record. It is the greatest day of my career.”
Makau’s consistent splits tell the story. With the aid of pacemakers, he went through the first five kilometers in 14:37, then clocked 5K splits of 14:40, 14:35, 14:38, 14:48, 14:20, 14:38 and 14:59 through 40-K. He ran nearly even halves of 1:01:44 and 1:01:54, respectively.
Makau is the tenth men’s marathon world record holder since 1980. According to the Association of Road Racing Statisticians, the record has fallen by five minutes and 23 seconds since 1980 when Dutchman Gerard Nijboer held the global standard of 2:09:01 set in Amsterdam that year. The first man to break 2:07 was Ethiopian Belayneh Dinsamo in Rotterdam in 1988 (2:06:50), and the first sub-2:06 was recorded by Moroccan Khalid Khannouchi (who later became an American citizen) in Chicago in 1999 (2:05:42). Kenyan Paul Tergat was history’s first sub-2:05 athlete (he clocked 2:04:55 in Berlin in 2003), and Gebrselassie was the first sub-2:04 athlete with his second world record of 2:03:59 set in Berlin in 2008. The last four men’s world records have been set in Berlin.
Overshadowed in Berlin today were both a brilliant debut and a noteworthy comeback in the women’s race. Kenya’s Florence Kiplagat, who won gold medals at both the 2009 IAAF World Cross Country Championships and the 2010 IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships, ran her first-ever completed marathon in 2:19:44 and became just the 11th woman to break 2:20 for the marathon. Hers was the second-fastest time of the year by a woman, behind only compatriot Mary Keitany’s 2:19:19 in London.
Behind Kiplagat, world record holder Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain clocked 2:23:46 in third place, running her first marathon in nearly two years. By running under 2:31:00, she all but guaranteed her selection to the British Olympic Squad for the 2012 London Games. Radcliffe, 37, who won the world marathon title in Helsinki in 2005, has one more shot to win an Olympic medal in the discipline she has dominated for nearly a decade after making her debut in London in 2002.
Germany’s Irina Mikitenko, the 2008 Berlin champion, finished second in 2:22:18, the second-fastest time by a European this year. Slightly down the finish table, Italians Anna Incerti (2:25:32), Rosaria Console (2:26:10), and Valeria Straneo (2:26:33) all set career best times and, like Radcliffe, almost certainly insured their selection for the London 2012 Games.
Top Results – BMW Berlin Marathon (Sept. 25)
1. Patrick Makau, KEN, 2:03:38 WR
2. Stephen Chemlany, KEN, 2:07:55 PB
3. Edwin Kimaiyo, KEN, 2:09:50
4. Felix Limo, KEN, 2:10:38
5. Scott Overall, GBR, 2:10:55 PB
10. Hendrick Ramaala, RSA, 2:16:00
1. Florence Kiplagat, KEN, 2:19:44 DB
2. Irina Mikitenko, GER, 2:22:18
3. Paula Radcliffe, GBR, 2:23:36
4. Atsede Habtamu, ETH, 2:24:25 PB
5. Tatyana Petrova, RUS, 2:25:01 PB
6. Anna Incerti, ITA, 2:25:32 PB
7. Rosaria Console, ITA, 2:26:10 PB
8. Valeria Straneo, ITA, 2:26:33 PB
9. Eri Okubo, JPN, 2:28:49 PB
10. Miranda Boonstra, NED, 2:29:23 PB