This column is from Justin Lagat on what he learned after observing the 2022 BMW Berlin Marathon.
Below are some of the most exciting observations made at the 2022 Berlin Marathon and valuable lessons from such a wonderful weekend of marathon running.
Justin Lagat has written for RunBlogRun for nearly a decade now. His observations, his interviews, and his comments on the sport, both from Kenya and on a global stage, resonate with our readers. What follows is the series of observations that Justin Lagat gathered after watching this year’s BMW Berlin Marathon.
1. It is possible to be a top performer in athletics for over 20 years
The winner of the men’s marathon race at the Berlin Marathon this past weekend used to run against Hicham El Guerrouj, Bernard Lagat, Haile Gebrselassie, and Benjamin Limo, among other great stars in the 2002 -2003 era.
New stars have risen and set, while Eliud Kipchoge has remained a top name in athletics for the past two decades. Athletes born a couple of years after Kipchoge began to shine in 2002 are already starting to win medals at the world championships, like the 18-year-old USA’s Erriyon Knighton (born in 2004), who won a bronze medal in Eugene, Oregon.
2. It is possible to make a mistake but still achieve the best performance in the end
When Eliud Kipchoge was asked to comment on the 59:51 split they went through in the first half of the marathon, he said that he aimed to cross it at 60:50, but his legs ran a little bit faster than planned. The “mistake” would result in the second half of the race becoming slower, but still, Kipchoge ran a world record.
Kipchoge did not let the mistake affect him, just like he didn’t let the malfunctioning of the insoles of his racing shoes in 2015 when he won his first Berlin Marathon title in a new personal best time of 2:04:00.
3. It is possible to change your distance from 400m runner to a marathon runner and still excel in all the distances
Tigist Assefa just ran a new Ethiopian national record and the third fastest time of 2:15:37 to win the women’s Marathon race.
Assefa has a personal best time of 54:05 for the 400m event and represented Ethiopia at the Rio Olympic Games in the 800m event.
4. The sub 2hr time in a typical marathon course is possible
After 8km into the men’s marathon race, the leaders were already on course to run a sub 2hr marathon. The pace continued up to the 23rd km when only one pacesetter remained and was struggling to keep the pace before Kipchoge would run alone for the rest of the distance.
While a pace of between 2:50 -51/km will result in a sub 2hr marathon, most of the splits used in Berlin in the first half of the race were unnecessarily some 2 seconds faster than that.