The field for Berlin today was amazing. But mother nature played the final card, and the rain, humidity and coolness played a big part in the marathon, making the already difficult conditions more difficult.
Add into that Guye Adola, a 59:06 half marathoner who was running his first marathon, and Eliud KIpchoge had some surprises. As Justin Lagat reminds us, Eliud Kipchoge had some challenges today, as he has in Berlin 2015 and London 2016. Today was no different.
Eliud Kipchoge added to his legacy with this race. And as Justin reminds us, Eliud wants to run faster.
We think he will.
2The Marathon world record remains elusive for Eliud Kipchoge as he wins the 44th Berlin Marathon:
Eliud Kipchoge runs BMW Berlin 2015, photo by PhotoRun.net
In 2015, Eliud Kipchoge had won the Berlin Marathon in a then personal best time of 2:04:00. But, he had done it under one of the most difficult circumstances, finishing the race with blisters and even some blood on his feet after his shoes had malfunctioned and the insoles had hanged out of them from as early as 10km into the race. Arguably, many other runners would have just pulled out of the race. That was the first time his fans had talked about a missed opportunity for him to break the world record given the remarkable time he ran despite the problem. No one knows how fast he would have run had he been in some comfortable shoes.
Last year, during the London marathon (2016), Kipchoge had run comfortably side by side with Stanley Biwott the last few kilometers of the race. But he could not hide the huge surprise and the clear disappointment he got when he had looked up at the clock as he neared the finish line and noticed how close he had all along been so close to the world record. Despite setting the London Marathon’s course record and running a personal best time of 2:03:05, Kipchoge was holding his head at the finish line as he kept looking at the clock. If only he had known how close he was quite early, he surely would have tried to cut the 8 seconds that prevented him from breaking the record.
Today, in Berlin, Kipchoge was focused and ready to break the world record. With a personal best time of over two and half minutes faster than the world record, the probability was high that the record was to fall today. Coupled with the fact that two other world’s best marathon runners, Wilson Kipsang and Kenenisa Bekele, were also in the race with the same objective of breaking the world record, it was almost certain that we were going to see a world record.
However, the heavily misty and wet morning in Berlin did cast doubt over the expectations of fast times even before the race could start. The pace makers did their part to maintain a world record schedule despite the rainy weather and the slippery road crossing the midway in 1:01:29, which was still 15 seconds faster than the time that Dennis Kimetto had used to cross when he was going for the world record.
The first surprise happened in the race when Wilson Kipsang pulled out of the race together with the pace maker at the 30km mark having remained with Kipchoge and Guye Adola at the front. Bekele who had begun to lag behind at 22k, also pulled out at the 30km mark. The other surprise was when Adola attempted to break away from Kipchoge at around the 38km point, but Kipchoge managed to close the gap again before pulling away in the last kilometer of the race to win in in 2:03:32. Adola came second 14 seconds later in 2:03:46, which is the fastest debut time ever in marathon. Geremew Mosinet was a distant 3rd in 2:06:09.
At the end of the day, Dennis Kimetto still remains the world record holder after three of the world’s current best marathon runners attempted to break his world record. This shows how much Dennis Kimetto had given his best in breaking the record and why he deserves much respect.
This was arguably Eliud Kipchoge’s hardest marathon race in his impressive career of 8 wins in all the 9 marathons he has ever run. He remains to attempt the record another day. It is still in his plans.