Setting a world record at the Berlin Marathon has become almost commonplace over the last decade. That tradition carried on over the weekend as Dennis Kimetto became the first runner to break the 2:03 mark.
The Kenyan demolished the old record that was set at Berlin last year by 26 seconds, finishing with a time of 2:02:57. This is the sixth time in the last 11 years that a world record was set at the Berlin Marathon. While a time like that can never be expected, it isn’t a surprise that Kimetto is the newest record holder. Kimetto set the debut marathon record in the 2012 Berlin Marathon and won the 2013 Bank of America Chicago Marathon setting a course record in the process.
Kimetto’s performance was so dominating his closest competitor, Emmanuel Mutai, also passed the previous marathon record but still finished more than 15 seconds behind Kimetto. Abera Kuma finished third with a time of 2:05:56.
Berlin’s ideal conditions and flat course have become a record breeding ground of late. Kimetto improved as the race went along and had a negative split on the back half of the race.
While no world records fell on the women’s side, the U.S. was well represented. Shalane Flanagan was in the lead for much of the race before slipping to third, where she would eventually finish. Flanagan’s final time was 2:21:14, a personal best but a couple of minutes off of her goal of setting an American record by beating Deena Kastor’s 2:19:36. Finishing ahead of Flanagan were Kenyans Tirfi Tsegaye (2:20:18) and Feyse Tadese (2:20:27).