Kenyan great Eliud Kipchoge smashed his own marathon world record in Berlin on Sunday and already the world is turning its attention to the mythical two-hour mark
The 37-year-old lit up the German capital, lowering his old mark by half a minute with a new best time of 2hr 01min 9sec.
He now holds four of the fastest five times ever achioved in marathon running.
He told the post-race press conference “you will see” what will come next, but hinted Berlin had not seen the last of him.
“I am African and in Africa we believe you chase one rabbit at a time,” a smiling Kipchoge said.
“So the rabbit we chased as a team was the Berlin Marathon 2022.”
At the halfway point passed at 59:51 the back-to-back Olympic champion in Rio and Tokyo looked set to become the first to officially run under the elusive two-hour mark.
But despite slowing slightly, Kipchoge held on to best his own record of 2:01:39 from Berlin in 2018.
Kipchoge said he was the “happiest man” when he crossed the finish line and had “no regrets” about coming so close to the two-hour mark.
He has already run a marathon in under two hours, in Vienna in 2019, but the feat was not recognised as the official world record as it was not in open competition and he used a team of rotating pacemakers.
It makes this one even more special.
He thanked the “wonderful” locals for their support, saying “Berlin is the best”.
“Berlin is a place where anybody has a chance to push their limits,” added Kipchoge, who has now won the event a record-equalling four times.
“I always say I don’t believe in limits, I know what limits are, I always say no human is limited.” Kenyan Mark Korir finished second behind his countryman on the flat circuit with a time of 2:05:58, while Ethiopian Tadu Abate came third with 2:06:28.
Ethiopian Andamlak Belihu, who kept up with Kipchoge for around two thirds of the race, held on for fourth.
The women’s field was also one of the fastest in marathon history, with four women led by Assefa beating the two hour and 20 minute mark.
Only one of the women taking part in Berlin, American Kiera D’Amato, had previously run under the landmark time.
Kenyan Rosemary Wanjiru came second with a time of 2:18:00 in her first ever marathon, making it the second fastest debut time ever recorded by a woman.
Ethiopian Tigist Abayechew came third in 2:18:03, while countrywoman Workenesh Edesa also ran under the 2:20:00 mark.
D’Amato came sixth with a time of 2:21:48.
— with AFP