Missed breaking the sub-2hr marathon by 100 seconds. He took 1min 18 sec off the old record.
It’ll happen - but the pace he is running to do this is just crazily fast.
Marathon record ripped to shreds
- By Ron Lewis
- The Times
- 11:55AM September 17, 2018
Two of the most gruelling world records in athletics fell within seven hours of each other yesterday as Eliud Kipchoge went within 100 seconds of running a sub-two-hour marathon in Berlin, before Kevin Mayer set five personal bests on the way to demolishing the world decathlon record at a small meeting in southern France.
Kipchoge, the Olympic champion, had long been called the greatest marathon runner of all time but, despite winning nine of his past ten marathons, the world record had eluded him until yesterday when he barely saw a rival before winning the Berlin Marathon in 2hr 1min 39 sec. It knocked 1min 18 sec off the previous record set by Dennis Kimetto, his fellow Kenyan, over the same course four years ago.
“I lack words to describe this day,” Kipchoge, 33, said. “It was hard. I ran my own race, I trusted my trainers, my programme and my coach. That’s what pushed me in the last kilometres.”
Berlin is popular for record-breaking attempts, thanks to a flat course, mild conditions and tall buildings shielding the runners from crosswinds. This was the seventh consecutive time that the men’s world record has been broken in this race. Kipchoge is the fifth Kenyan to break the world record.
This was not the fastest marathon he has run, though. Kipchoge, who won gold over 5,000m at the world championships aged 18 in 2003, ran the distance in 2:00:25 in May last year at the Monza motor racing track in Italy. It did not count as a recognised world record because drop-in, drop-out pacemakers were used for the complete distance.
In Berlin, Kipchoge started with three pacemakers but that number dropped to one by 15km, which he reached in 43:38. The final pacemaker, Josphat Boit, led Kipchoge through halfway in 1:01:06 before dropping out at 25km, covered in 1:12:24, leaving Kipchoge to run 17km alone.
Rather than drop the pace, Kipchoge accelerated. By the time he passed 40km in 1:55:32, the record looked a certainty. He finished nearly 4 and a half minutes in front of the second-placed runner, Amos Kipruto, a fellow Kenyan, who finished in 2:06:23, with Wilson Kipsang a further 25 seconds behind.
It was his third win in Berlin, having won his third London Marathon in April. His first attempt to break the world record had been three years ago in Berlin, when his trainers fell to pieces. He won the race despite the insoles of both shoes flapping around his ankles for most of the race.
Mayer recorded 9,126 points in the decathlon at Decastar in Talence, a suburb of Bordeaux, to beat the world record of Ashton Eaton by 81 points.
He had planned to be on holiday this month but that changed after a disaster at the European championships in Berlin last month where he set five outdoor personal bests in two days. The Frenchman, who won heptathlon gold at the world indoor championships in Birmingham in March, had been expected to win gold in Berlin, only to crash out of the competition in the second of ten events, the long jump, when he recorded three fouls.
Eaton, the American, dominated the decathlon for five years before retiring after winning his second Olympic gold medal at Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Mayer, 26, won silver in Rio before claiming gold at the world championships in London summer last year.
He had set numerous personal bests this year to indicate that a challenge to Eaton’s world record could be possible, although he had refused to consider it before the start of the competition in France. “As usual I am just focusing on doing my best in each event and not thinking about the final result,” he said.
Yet a strong first-day score of 4,563 points left him 140 points adrift of the tally Eaton managed when setting the world record at the world championships in Beijing in 2015.
Mayer’s performances yesterday were remarkable, as he set outdoor personal bests in the discus, pole vault and javelin to leave him needing to run within 30 seconds of his best in the 1,500m to set a record. He ran 13 seconds faster than his target.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time,” Mayer said. “We live for moments like this that are simply incredible. I couldn’t cry. I don’t have any more tears left because I was crying so much before the 1,500m.”
Eaton offered his congratulations via Twitter within seconds of Mayer crossing the finishing line.
“That was an incredible display of ability,” Eaton wrote. “I’m super happy for Kevin Mayer and even more for the future of the decathlon. Important thing to me has always been to keep pushing the limit and inspiring others.”
There was a Kenyan double in Berlin as Gladys Cherono won the women’s race in 2:18:11, a course record and the sixth-fastest time in history.