For the fourth time in six years, the men’s marathon world record has a new owner. Dennis Kimetto followed in the footsteps of the phenomenal athletes before him by blazing through the streets of Berlin and into uncharted territory. While recent trends might indicate that his hold on the record may only be temporary, his time of 2:02:57 gives him the right to claim first under the 2:03 barrier for eternity. Dennis wasn’t the only runner that came prepared for the record assault as second place finisher Emmanuel Mutai also surpassed the previous world record, finishing in 2:03:13.
Within the next few months, new history will surely be written in the marathon event. Three of the world’s biggest cities are going see their roads taken over by some of the world’s best athletes along with thousands of other runners as the World Marathon Majors 2014 season resumes. Perhaps some of you will be joining the crowd in Berlin, Chicago, or New York?
The BMW Berlin Marathon, scheduled for September 28th, is home of the past five world records at the distance. Last year, Wilson Kipsang covered the course through the German capital in an astounding 2:03:23, breaking his countryman Patrick Makau’s world record by 15 seconds and cementing his name at the top of the legendary distance. With Kipsang racing in New York this year, the men’s champion is sure to see a new face at the top of the podium in Berlin. That face could belong to Dennis Kimetto, the favorite who boasts the strongest personal best in the field with his 2:03:45 victory from the Chicago Marathon last year. Kimetto faces stiff competition from the likes of former Marathon Major winners Emmanuel Mutai and Tsegaye Kebede as well as the World Half Marathon Champion Geoffrey Kamworor Kipsang. With the pace always set to break the world record, this men’s race in Berlin is sure to be fast and furious.
The women’s race in Berlin does not have as many former major champions as the men’s but is particularly interesting to Americans with Shalane Flanagan taking her first attempt at a flat fast course in a non-championship race. She will surely be targeting Deena Kastor’s American Record of 2:19:36 along with her first World Marathon Major victory. She will not be alone on the German roads though as Paris Marathon champion, Feyse Tadese, and last year’s Berlin runner-up Tirfi Tsegaye will be looking for the win as well.
Today is no average Tuesday. September 25 marks the anniversary of not one but two notable events in running history:
September 25, 2011: Patrick Makau of Manyanzwani in the Eastern Province of Kenya sets a new Men’s Marathon world record at the BMW Berlin Marathon. His time of 2:03:38 smashes the previous record of 2:03:59 held by Haile Gebrselassie. The BMW Berlin Marathon has a reputation for producing world records, due to the flat and even nature of the course. The race is also typically held in late September (this year it will be on the 30th), when temperatures are mild.
September 25, 1981: The now-classic film “Chariots of Fire” is released in theaters. How many of you are humming the theme song in your head right now? The film recounts the true story of two track athletes – Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddel – competing in the 400-meter race in the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris, France. Abrahams is a Jewish man who runs to fight anti-Semitism, Liddel is a Scottish missionary who says that he runs for God. Both men must battle through challenges in the quest for the win.
How will you make your own running history today?