FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WILSON KIPSANG SHATTERS MARATHON WORLD RECORD IN BERLIN
After spending two years being known as the man who came agonisingly close
to matching the marathon world record, Wilson Kipsang of Kenya broke that
record handsomely in Berlin on Sunday morning, clocking 2.03.23, thus
taking 15 seconds off compatriot Patrick Makau's 2.03.38, set in this same
race two years ago. In only his second marathon, former world 5000 metres
track champion, Eliud Kipchoge finished second in 2.04.05, taking a minute
off his debut best; and another Kenyan, Geoffrey Kipsang (no relation) was
third in in 2.06.26, also a personal best.
Barely a month after Makau's world record in Berlin, Kipsang, 31 won the
Frankfurt Marathon 2011 in 2.03.42. He went on to win the London Marathon
2012, but was relegated to third in the Olympic race in London three months
later. Now Kipsang is on top of the marathon mountain. And Berlin's cachet
of possessing the fastest marathon course in the world is again emphasised.
This is the eighth world record on the course in 15 years.
With four-time winner, and twice world record holder here, Haile
Gebrselassie sending the field on its way on a bright sunny morning, with
a brisk 8C (46F) at the start rising to 13C (55F) at the finish, the scene
was set for another historic BMW Berlin Marathon, the 40th in the series.
And Kipsang was just the man for the job. He kept a watching brief for
around three-quarters of the race, content to stay at the back of a group
of ten East Africans – mostly Kenyans, with a couple of Ethiopians – led by
pacemakers, Edwin Kiptoo and Philemon Rono. The latter pair performed their
task admirably, going through 10k in 29.16, and halfway in 61.32, some
dozen seconds ahead of Makau's pace (when he was duelling with
Gebrselassie) two years ago.
Kipsang is one of the few Kenyans willing to venture a pre-race prediction
of a world record. And since he had run within four seconds of the world
record, that opinion was maybe not so rash. And although staying at the
back of the group, he seemed to be in control of the whole show,
choreographing the assault on Makau's record himself. Not only was he able
to watch his principal rivals, Kipchoge and Geoffrey Kipsang closely, he
had the reassurance of knowing that the pacemakers were part of his own
He gave them their head until the wind rose and the pace began to drop
after 30k, when Kiptoo dropped out, and two lesser known Kenyans, debutant
Wilson Kirwa and Victor Kipchirchir dropped back. And when Rono dropped
out at 35k, with the trio of favourites 20 seconds adrift of Makau's time,
Kipsang responded immediately. He strode to the front, and raised the pace;
and from then on, the writing was on the road, both for Makau and for
Geoffrey Kipsang and Kipchoge, who were already struggling to keep pace.
They managed it for another kilometre, and first Geoffrey K then Kipchoge
Kipchoge rallied briefly at 38k, by which time Kipsang was back ahead of
Makau's pace. But the relative experience of the two men then showed, as
Kipsang eased into a winning lead, and concentrated on the record. It was
touch and go for the next two kilometres – one second ahead, then one
behind Makau - but a final onslaught from Kipsang, running the stretch from
40k to the end, ie 2.195k in 6min 11 sec, took him well under the previous
Kipsang said, "This is a dream come true. Ten years ago, I watched Paul
Tergat break the world record in Berlin, and now I have achieved the dream.
I felt strong, so I attacked at 35k, because the pace had become a little
With so many world record holders here for the 40th anniversary race –
Christa Vahlensiek, Tegla Loroupe, Naoko Takahashi (who ran 3.25 today),
Geb, Tergat, Ronaldo da Costa, and Makau – it is tempting to wonder who
might be the tenth world record breaker here.
Kipchoge suggested himself, saying, "I felt strong, even though I was
running much faster than in my debut in Spring. I've now run 2.04, so I
think one day I could train to run the world record".
There was another Kenyan duel, virtually throughout the whole of the
women's race. But despite some foot problems, Florence Kiplagat prevailed
over colleague, Sharon Cherop, and retrieved the Berlin title she won two
years ago. Kiplagat won in 2.21.13, easing well ahead in the final stages,
with Cherop second in 2.22.38.
Another former winner, Kazakh-born, German record holder, Irina Mikitenko
finished third in 2.24.54, and took almost a minute off Ludmilla Petrova's
2.25.43, set in New York 2008.
Kiplagat said, "I felt strong in the first half of the race, but then I
started getting problems with my right foot, I had a blister which forced
me to slow down. I found the weather conditions harder than 2 years ago
here, but I'm still very happy".
Mikitenko "I'm very happy to have broken the masters' world record, but I'm
quite sure I can run faster, and improve the record further. There were
some problems because of the wind, but I'm very happy".
But the last word belongs to Kipsang. "Looking at my marathon progress and
career so far, I still think I have the potential to run faster. Anything
under 2.03.23 would do".