After falling behind world record pace as fellow reigning champion Assefa became the first woman to break 2:12 in a marathon event, Kipchoge was on his own for the final 10 km.
On Sunday, September 24, Eliud Kipchoge won the Berlin Marathon for the sixth time, and Tigist Assefa shaved more than two minutes off the women’s record.
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Eliud Kipchoge wins
The 38-year-old twice Olympic champion Kipchoge finished alone at the lead in the first race since coming in sixth at the Boston Marathon in April with a time of 2:02:42.
Second place was held by fellow Kenyan Vincent Kipkemboi, who was followed by Ethiopian Tadese Takele by 31 seconds.
Amos Kipruto, the winner of the 2017 London Marathon, was in the second group behind Kipchoge, Derseh Kindie, and three pacemakers after the first three km.
The leaders were 16 seconds faster than the world record pace after 10 km. At 16 km, that time was as high as 23 seconds, but by the time they arrived at halfway in 1:00:22, it had dropped to 13 seconds.
At 26 km, as they fell below the world record pace, Kipchoge awoke from an almost trance-like state to talk to Hillary Chepkwony, the lone pacemaker left.
With little over 10 km remaining, Kindie dropped behind the group’s pace and quickly stopped. Chepkwony, who had recently exchanged blows with his NN Running Team training companion, soon followed.
In the last stages, the trailing group did get closer and could see Kipchoge in the distance, but not near enough to bother the Kenyan hero.
After the race, Kipchoge admitted that he had believed he would break the world record but that things didn’t go as planned since that’s how athletics is.
“I’ve gained knowledge. Despite winning, I haven’t shattered the world record. Every race offers a lesson to be learned.
In response to questions about his chances of successfully defending his Olympic title, he stated that the results of the Berlin Marathon had no impact on his goals and that “I will bring all my experience to the Olympics in Paris next year and endeavor to achieve a historic feat by becoming the first human to secure three consecutive Olympic gold medals.”
The records are rewritten by Tigist Assefa.
Tigist Assefa, last year’s unexpected victor in the women’s race, and fellow Ethiopian Workenesh Edesa pulled away after 15 km.
Assefa, who completed the half-marathon in 1:06:20—39 seconds faster than Brigid Kosgei’s split from her world record run in Chicago four years ago—soon fell out of contact with Edesa.
The 29-year-old proceeded to gain time as she neared the end of something extremely unique while monitoring her male pacemaker Azmera Gebru.
Assefa, a former 800m champion, appeared to be in top form as she passed past Berlin’s famous Brandenburg Gate and finished in 2:11:53, more than two minutes faster than Kosgei’s previous record of 2:14:04.
Sheila Chepkirui of Kenya finished in a distant second place in 2:17:49, followed by Magdalena Shauri of Tanzania, who finished third in 2:18:41.
After the race, Assefa commented, “It’s the result of hard work which I’ve put in over the last year.” “I thought I could break the record, but I didn’t expect to break it by such a large margin.”
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