Kenyan Wilson Kipsang made the most of the flat Berlin streets to smash the marathon world record by 15 seconds.
The 31-year-old Kipsang clocked a time of two hours, three minutes and 23 seconds to better the previous mark set two years ago in the same race by compatriot Patrick Makau, who was forced to pull out of yesterday’s event through injury two weeks ago.
Kipsang, who won the 2012 London Marathon and also took bronze at the Olympics, left fellow Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge a distant second in a personal best 2:04:05. Another Kenyan, Geoffrey Kipsang, was third in 2:06:26.
Despite running under cool and sunny skies, Kipsang, whose finish was upstaged by a publicity-hungry intruder who crossed the line immediately before him, said calmer conditions could have produced an even quicker time. “If I prepare very well and stay in shape then maybe,” he said when asked if he could better the mark. “Today there was a lot of wind... but if the wind would have been a little bit then it [the time] would come down. I was feeling strong so I decided to push.
“I was really inspired by Paul Tergat when he broke the world record here 10 years ago and I’m very happy that I was in a position to break the record on the same course.”
It was the ninth world record at the Berlin race – celebrating its 40th running – and the fifth by the men in the last decade.
The victory boosted Kipsang’s chances of winning the World Marathon Majors series, which awards points during a two-year cycle from finishing positions in the Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York marathons. He moves up to second behind Ethiopia’s Tsegaye Kebede in the race to win a cut of the million-dollar jackpot split between the men’s and women’s winners.
Florence Kiplagat made it a double success for Kenya as she won the women’s race in 2:21:13 ahead of compatriot Sharon Cherop with Germany’s Irina Mikitenko third.