Mutai Wins Berlin Marathon, Likely Clinches WMM Points Title
by David Monti
(c) Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
(30-Sep) -- Kenya's Geoffrey Mutai prevailed in a sprint finish over training partner Dennis Kimetto in today's 39th BMW Berlin Marathon, running the fastest marathon of the year and all but clinching the 2011/2012 World Marathon Majors points title and the attendant $500,000 prize.
Mutai, 30, who was not selected for the Kenyan Olympic Marathon team after dropping out of last April's Boston Marathon before the 30-K mark, clocked 2:04:15, one second ahead of Kimetto, who ran a world best time for a marathon debut on a record-quality course. The pair had passed the Brandenburg Gate just meters from the finish line together, only settling the race in the final sprint.
Third place went to Geoffrey Kipsang, 19, in 2:06:12, giving Kenyan athletes a sweep of the men's podium. Kenyan men took the first nine finish positions.
Mutai had hoped to break Patrick Makau's world record today (2:03:38), and with a halfway split of 1:02:12 he was on target to do so with a 34-second negative split. Indeed, Mutai and Kimetto hit the 40-K split in 1:57:22, just seven seconds off of Makau's time at the same point last year. However, the pair quickly turned their attention away from the clock and to each other, and the record slipped away.
Nonetheless, with the 25 World Marathon Majors points he earned for his victory today, Mutai now has 75 points in the 2011/2012 points chase providing a 35-point margin over four men who are tied for second with 40. Of the four, both both Wesley Korir and Moses Mosop are running fall Majors --Chicago and New York, respectively-- but victories would only get them to 65 points, 10 shy of Mutai. While it is mathematically possible for Korir to win Chicago on October 7, then come back and run New York on November 4 where finishing first or second would put him past Mutai, that is extremely unlikely.
In the women's contest, Ethiopians Aberu Kebede and Tsegaye Beyene Tirfi finished 1-2 in 2:20:30 and 2:21:19, respectively. Ukraine's Olena Shurhno finished third in 2:23:32.
For German athletes, former European 10,000m champion Jan Fitschen was the top finisher in 14th place, clocking a personal best 2:13:10. Anna Hahner was the top home-country woman in 2:30:37 in 8th place. The last German to win the BMW Berlin Marathon was Irina Mikitenko in 2008.