Florence Kiplagat won the women’s marathon, running 2:19.44. Irina Mikitenko took second in 2:22.18. Paula Radcliffe, world record holder in the women’s marathon took third in 2:23.46.
The emperor falters, the new emperor makes a breakthru, seems like a bit of a changing of the guard, we will have to wait til London 2012 to truly know. Our sport is tough, and Gebrselassie is not about to retire, and Radcliffe will rest, reassess and focus on 2012.
Here is Pat Butcher’s account of the marathon, that transpired earlier today. With Makau’s record, there have been eight world records set on the BMW Berlin Marathon course, in it’s 38th year.
38th BMW BERLIN MARATHON:
Patrick Makau runs world record with 2:03:38,
Florence Kiplagat wins women’s race, followed by Irina Mikitenko and Paula Radcliffe
Patrick Makau has crowned the 38th BMW BERLIN MARATHON with a world
record. The 26 year-old Kenyan clocked 2:03:38, beating Haile
Gebrselassie and improving the record of the Ethiopian by 21 seconds.
With a dramatic surge after 27 k defending champion Patrick Makau had
dropped Haile Gebrselassie well behind. While the Ethiopian later
dropped out after the 35 k mark he lost another world record to Patrick
Makau on a miserable day for him: The Kenyan had passed the 30 k mark in
1:27:38, eleven seconds quicker than Haile in 2009. Split times will be
officially ratified as world records if times were taken by official
referees. That was the case in Berlin on Sunday.
Patrick Makau, WR in 2:03.38, 2011 BMW Berlin Marathon, photo by Victah Sailer/BMW Berlin Marathon
Stephen Chemlany (Kenya), who had been a pacemaker for the second
group, finished second with 2:07:55. Fellow Kenyan Edwin Kimaiyo was
third (2:09:50). Felix Limo (Kenya/2:10:38) was fourth while Britain’s
Scott Overall ran 2:10:55 for fifth place in his debut. He should have
qualified for the London Olympics 2012 with this performance.
Florence Kiplagat, Paula Radcliffe, 2011 BMW Berlin Marathon, photo by Victah Sailer/BMW Berlin Marathon
In the women’s race Florence Kiplagat stole the show from the two
stars, Paula Radcliffe (Great Britain) and Irina Mikitenko (Germany).
The 24 year-old Kenyan clocked the second fastest time of the year
worldwide, winning with 2:19:44. Irina Mikitenko finished second
(2:22:18) and world record holder Paula Radcliffe was third (2:23:46) in
her marathon comeback after giving birth. Regarding the depth of the
women’s elite results this was the best race in the history of the BMW
BERLIN MARATHON. Atsede Habtamu (Ethiopia/2:24:25), Tatyana Petrova
(Russia/2:25:01) and Anna Incerti (Italy/2:25:32) all were inside 2:26.
Irina Mikitenko, 2011 BMW Berlin Marathon, photo by Victah Sailer/BMW Berlin Marathon
40,963 Runners from 125 nations had entered the 38th BMW BERLIN
MARATHON. One million people lined the streets of the German capital.
The race lived up to all expectations, with the eight world record since
Paula Radcliffe, 2011 BMW Berlin Marathon, photo by Victah Sailer/BMW Berlin Marathon
The men’s race was forecast to be a duel between the elder statesman
Gebrselassie, aged 38, and the young pretender, 26 year old Makau; so
it turned out, briefly, but not before an intriguing prelude to halfway
and beyond, when the pair were led by half a dozen (Kenyan) pacemakers,
and accompanied by Kimaiyo, John Kyui and Emmanuel Samal, also all
Mikitenko, Kiplagat, Radcliffe, 2011 BMW Berlin Marathon, photo by Victah Sailer/BMW Berlin Marathon
Setting out with the intention to pass halfway in 62 minutes, the
group prepared the path for Makau’s eventual double triumph by going
through the ‘half’ in 61.44. Gebrselassie was always at the head of the
group in the lee of the pacers throughout this early stage. He only
began to concede the ‘lead’ between 24 and 25 kilometres, and that
proved to be a sign of things to come.
At 27 kilometres, Makau decided he’d had enough of the procession.
His initial acceleration dropped his trio of colleagues- Kyui, Kimaiyo
and Samal – and then he got to work on Gebrselassie. Makau spurted past
the pacemakers, and began weaving across to the road, in an obvious
attempt to unsettle the Ethiopian master.
the Emperor falters,(27k), Marke Milde with Haile Gebrselassie, photo by Victah Sailer/BMW Berlin Marathon
It worked almost immediately. Barely 200 metres later, Gebrselassie
dropped back, veered to the right side of the road, and stopped. He was
joined by race director, Mark Milde, following on his customary bicycle.
While Makau continued his relentless assault on Gebrselassie’s record,
the man himself was bent double, shaking his hand to indicate breathing
difficulties. However, within a minute, he straightened up, and began
Makau was gone, but the Ethiopian successfully passed Kimaiyo, and
went back into second place. But he was running on borrowed time. Though
still second at 35k, he dropped out shortly afterwards.
The measure of how difficult it would have been to combat Makau is
that the Kenyan ran his second half in 61.54, that’s to say, just ten
seconds slower than the group had run the first half.
It was an extraordinary demonstration of his strength and talent.
Added to which, he finished with a flourish. Heading towards the
parallel women’s finish, he had to jump a temporary kerb, separating it
from the men’s finish, before he grabbed the finish tape in exultation,
having shattered Gebrselassie’s previous world record of 2.03.59, set
here in 2008, by 21 seconds.
Patrick Makau, WR, 2:03.38, 2011 BMW Berlin Marathon, photo by Victah Sailer/BMW Berlin Marathon
Of the moves which disposed so successfully of Gebrselassie, he said
afterwards, “It is one of my tactics. I did some zig-zags, to confuse
him. I had a lot of energy, and wanted to tire him. He was trying to use
me, to maintain the pace, and I wanted to run alone, either behind him
or to the side, so I did a zig-zag to one side and he followed, I did it
to the other side, and the next time, I couldn’t see him.
“This (world record) is very special for the Kenyans, especially
beating the Ethiopians. Everyone in Kenya will be happy for me. My
manager is getting a lot of calls from Kenya, and I hear there were lots
of people watching TV in bars, and breaking bottles when they saw the
Temperatures rose from a perfect 10C at the start to around 16C by
the men’s finish, but Makau indicated that the bright sunlight in his
face made it seem hotter, and said he thought he (and others) could go
even faster. “I only had a pacemaker until 32k, so I had to do the last
10k alone. I think if someone was with me, I can run faster, but I think
someone else can run faster also.
“But I knew at 32k that I could win and break the world record, even
though I had to do the last part by myself. Today was my day”.
There was no gainsaying that, nor that this should make him an early
choice for the Kenyan squad for London 2012. It also helped put another
nail in Ethiopian aspirations to distance running domination.
Haile Gebrselassie, 2011 BMW Berlin Marathon, photo by Victah Sailer/BMW Berlin Marathon
At Friday’s press conference, Geb had talked about the relative
demise of his compatriots at the recent world championships, in contrast
to the Kenyan successes. “We are going to have to work harder,” said
Geb. Well, that task is even more demanding now, following this Kenyan
double-header, with the added zest of Makau’s world record.
For a first-time marathon finish, Kiplagat’s performance was equally
laudable. The way she headed the field from the start contradicted her
assertion at the post-race press conference that she had only hoped, “of
finishing, and not winning”.
By the time Radcliffe relented at 12k, admitting afterwards that she
had started too fast in an attempt to match the 24 year old Kenyan, it
was only a matter of Kiplagat’s margin of victory. It turned out to be
over two and a half minutes.
A decade and more older than the Kenyan, Mikitenko and Radcliffe
both opined that Kiplagat needed to prove herself in other marathons
before she could consider herself a marathoner. They might have been
hoping that she returns to the track and country, where has enjoyed much
But that’s not going to happen. Kiplagat said, “I have some problems
wearing spikes (spiked running shoes), so I won’t be running on the
track or doing cross country anymore. I’m a marathoner now”. And the
latest addition to the elite sub-2.20 club.
Mikitenko had plenty of reason to be overjoyed. She has had her
share of injury problems in the last 24 months, since her second
successive London Marathon victory. She had said she wanted to run 2.22
here, and set out accordingly calmly, letting Kiplagat and Radcliffe go.
Her plan worked perfectly, she reeled Radcliffe in at around 34k, and
finished in 2.22.18.
“I’m really happy,” she said at the press conference, “after all the
months of hard training, everything worked as well as I hoped. I can
now look forward to London 2012”.
Paula Radcliffe, 2011 BMW Berlin Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net
Radcliffe was more circumspect. “I’m not particularly happy, either
with my time or my place. I came here wanting to win; I didn’t really
have a time in mind, although I thought I was in 2.22 shape. I probably
went out too fast, and I had a bad patch between 37 and 38k.
“I could see the Ethiopian (Habtamu, who finished fourth) coming
back to me, and people were telling the gap was getting closer, ‘ten
seconds, eight seconds, etc,’ . So I’m not particularly happy, but there
are a lot of positives to take out of it. The foot I had operated on
two and half years ago gave me no problems at all today. I need to race
more, get back into racing mode”.
So, for time being, Radcliffe avoids the Wagnerian ultimatum,
Twilight of the Idols, but what of Gebrselassie, after the second
drop-out in his last two marathons?
Uncharacteristically, he declined to attend the press conference, to
explain his forfeit, but his manager Jos Hermens said that, while it
may be, “the end of an era, of record breaking for Haile, it’s not the
end of his career.
“He had a breathing problem, like he had in London (in the past).
It’s exercise-induced asthma. He has a ‘puffer’, but he hasn’t used it
in ages, and he didn’t use it this morning. He’s back in the hotel now
and he’s fine.
“He needs to find a fast course now, to do 2.04 or 2.05, and qualify
for London (Olympics). We originally planned to run a fast time here,
then go to Tokyo (Jan/Feb), but Tokyo is not a fast course. He might
have to run Dubai (third week in January).
“He can still run 2.05, but maybe by then, others will be running
2.02. He’s had a great career, 20 years at the top, but age is
eventually going to catch up. But it’s his dream to run in a fifth
And if this is the endgame for Haile, Radcliffe, still the women’s world record was on hand to provide an epitaph.
Haile Gebrselassie, 2011 BMW Berlin Marathon, photo by Victah Sailer/BMW Berlin Marathon
“Whatever happens,” said Radcliffe, “he’s the greatest male distance
runner in history, taking track, cross country and road into
consideration. And with the Olympics as well.
“I don’t know how he does it. When you hear he employs 630 people,
and has all that administration, as well as training. In contrast, I get
up and get two kids off to school. It’s amazing what he’s done; I hope
he doesn’t retire, but at some point you have to say, my body’s had