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Berlin Marathon

GOAT Kipchoge raises the bar (again)

Eliud Kipchoge's world record and Tigist Assefa's course record are the stand-out performances at a stunning BMW Berlin Marathon

He was already the world record holder and undisputed GOAT of marathon running. So what superlatives can we possibly use to describe Eliud Kipchoge's latest PB and fourth victory in the 48th BMW Berlin Marathon on Sunday (25 September)?

With that enigmatic smile across his face, the 37-year-old Kenyan ripped up the record books once again to cleave 30 seconds off his own world record (2:01:39) set at this venue in 2018, after passing halfway in a world-best split (59:51). The previous fastest halfway in a marathon was 60:48, also set in Berlin last year before the wheels came off for the impetuous leaders. 

This year only Andamlak Belihu (Ethiopia) could hang on to the flying Kenyan, plus three eyeballs-out pacemakers, of course. It speaks volumes of Kipchoge's status that he requires sub-hour half marathon performers as pacemakers!

Not even the greatest of all time (GOAT) could maintain a sub-two-hour pace, particularly as he was completely alone for most of the second half. In the end, his splits were 59:51/61:18 for a phenomenal 2:01:09 as he breasted the tape in splendid isolation in front of the iconic Brandenburg Gate.

The courageous Belihu finished fourth (2:06:40) behind Mark Korir (Kenya, 2:05:58) and Tadu Abate (2:06:28). The anticipated challenge from defending champion Guye Adola (Ethiopia) evaporated as he faded from contention before halfway and dropped out.

The women's race was more of a contest as five athletes were together at halfway and it was a case of pick a winner from three at 30K. Eventually, the surprise package was Tigist Assefa (Ethiopia, 2:15:37) whose Berlin course record was the third fastest marathon ever and a PB by more than 18 minutes!

Four women were inside 2:19:00 to cement Berlin's reputation as the fastest course in the world. Assefa was followed home by Rosemary Wanjiru (Kenya, 2:18:00), Tigist Abayechew (Ethiopia, 2:08:03) and Workenesh Edesa (Ethiopia, 2:18:51).

The best British performance was achieved by 43-year-old 2011 Berlin third-placer Sonia Samuels (Sale Harriers Manchester) who turned back time to record 2:28:15, the fastest since her 2015 PB (2:28:04) also set in Berlin. Nicholas Barry (Sale Harriers Manchester, 2:23:21 PB) was the leading male Briton.

Results and previous Berlin reports at runABC race listing here

Image courtesy Berlin Marathon on Facebook

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