A world record didn’t fall this morning at the Berlin Marathon. However Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya and Guy Adola of Ethiopia kept the race exciting, battling back and forth until the very end. It was the veteran Kipchoge who finished first in 2:03:32, 35 seconds off of Dennis Kimmetto’s world record of 2:02:57, set at the 2014 Berlin Marathon. It was the 6th fastest time ever run in Berlin. Adola, in his first marathon, finished second in 2:03:46, the quickest debut time ever. Felix Kandie was a distant third in 2:06:12.
Two of the favorites to chase the world record did not factor into the race. Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang, who finished second last year, dropped out of the race at 30K. Last year’s champion, Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia, left the course soon after. This left Kipchoge and Adola running shoulder to shoulder for much of the end of the race. Adola threw in surges around 37K but Kipchoge took the lead at 40K and never looked back. The rainy and humid weather kept both runners slightly off world record pace.
The last two years have been filled with breakout performances from Kipchoge. In 2016, he won the London Marathon and the Rio Olympic Marathon. In May, he ran a spectacular 2:00:25 at Nike’s Breaking2 event, although that time did not count as a world record due to the controlled conditions.
A speedy 10,000-meter and half marathoner, 26-year-old Adola could now be a new force in the marathon distance. Although he had to settle for second, Adola’s marathon debut is now the 8th fastest Berlin Marathon time ever ran.
In the women’s race, Gladys Cherono of Kenya surged ahead of the pack to finish in 2:20:21, winning her second Berlin Marathon. Ruti Aga of Ethiopia was second in 2:20:41 and Valary Aiyabei of Kenya is third with 2:20:53.
The next World Marathon Major on the calendar is the Chicago Marathon, taking place on October 8.