In Summary
  • Kimetto shattered compatriot Wilson Kipsang’s world marathon record, becoming the first to run the 42-kilometre race in under two hours and three minutes.
  • Ethiopia’s Tirfi Tsegaye won the women’s race in 2:20:18, followed by fellow Ethiopian Feyse Tadese (2:20:27) while American Shalane Flanagan was third with
  • The weather and pace in Berlin yesterday presented excellent conditions for an assault at the world record. Pacemakers Kirwa and Ronoh went through the halfway mark in 61:45 before hitting the 30-kilometre mark in 1:27:37, well inside Kipsang’s splits last year.

Dennis Kimetto’s record-breaking victory at the BMW Berlin Marathon sent athletics-mad Eldoret residents into frenzied celebrations.

The fans included his wife, Caroline Chepkorir Kimetto, who fainted for joy after watching her husband cruise past the famous Brandenburg gate to breast the tape in two hours, two minutes and 57 seconds.

Kimetto shattered compatriot Wilson Kipsang’s world marathon record, becoming the first to run the 42-kilometre race in under two hours and three minutes.

Breaking the world record earns the athlete €120,000 (about Sh14 million) and lots more in sponsorship bonus.

Caroline watched the race at Clique Hotel with family and friends, who included her husband’s training partner Geoffrey Mutai.

Mutai is among the world’s top marathon runners having clocked an amazing 2:03.02 to win the Boston Marathon in 2011.

Mutai’s time was fast enough for a world record then, but the Boston Marathon’s end-to-end downhill course does not conform to world record specifications.

BETTER WINNING MARK

Kimetto’s winning time Sunday was 26 seconds better than Kipsang’s mark set on the same course last year.

It was the climax to the story of a man who just four years ago was unable to get high school education for lack of fees.

Another Kenyan, Emmanuel Mutai (2:03:13), was also inside Wilson Kipsang’s former world record time of 2:03.23 in finishing second. Ethiopia’s Abera Kuma was third in 2:05:56.

Ethiopia’s Tirfi Tsegaye won the women’s race in 2:20:18, followed by fellow Ethiopian Feyse Tadese (2:20:27) while American Shalane Flanagan was third with 2:21:14. 

“I cheered throughout the entire race, but when the finish line was brought on sight, I felt dizzy and in no time I went off. I regained consciousness a few minutes later and was told that my husband was the new world record holder,” Caroline said.

The elated mother of two-year-old Alpha Kibet said Kimetto had battled with a hamstring injury, which saw him drop off the Boston Marathon in April.

“As a wife and his closest friend, I was still afraid that the injury may be back, but when he proceeded past the 38-kilometre mark, I was sure it was not going to hurt him. But I did not expect a record,” she said.

Geoffrey Mutai, who beat Kimetto to the tape to win the 2012 Berlin Marathon, said Kimetto’s wife was concerned that he was pushing too hard and that the old injury could recur.

COLLAPSED

“I kept on reassuring her that there was no sign of injury. She followed the race until she cheered, jumped and collapsed upon seeing the finish line. She even tore my shirt apart in joy,” Mutai said.

Kimetto, who was born in Kamwosor Village to a peasant family 30 years ago later told the Nation by telephone from Berlin that his pacemakers did a good job of setting the stage for his memorable win.

“Wilfred Kigen, Geoffrey Ronoh and Amos Kitur. They did a fantastic job, with one dropping out at 28 kilometres and the two others at 30 kilometres,” Kimetto said.

“We kept telling them to push the pace and at the 30-kilometre mark, I was confident that I would get the record. I’m very excited!”

The weather and pace in Berlin yesterday presented excellent conditions for an assault at the world record. Pacemakers Kirwa and Ronoh went through the halfway mark in 61:45 before hitting the 30-kilometre mark in 1:27:37, well inside Kipsang’s splits last year.

Mutai then made a move, but after 35 kilometres, Kimetto responded, running the second half of the race in 61:12.

SECOND WORLD RECORD

Sunday’s was Kimetto’s second world record after he shattered the 25-kilometre world record in 2011 by winning the BIG 25 Berlin race in 71:18. The previous record held by Kenyan Sammy Kosgei was 71:50.

Kimetto ran his first competitive race on the road in October 2011 at the annual Kebirigo Road Race in Nyamira County. He finished third behind Edwin Mokua and Nicholas Kipkemboi.

Days later, he won the Ndakaini Half Marathon. He was second in Laikipia before winning the 10-kilometre race at the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon and the 12-kilometre division of the Kass Marathon, also in 2011.

His first race abroad was the 2012 Ras Al-Khaimah Half Marathon, which he won in 60:40.

It was the beginning of high-profile podium finishes for the former Kamwosor Primary School (Keiyo South) pupil.

In 2012, he won the Berlin Half Marathon. Last year, he won the Tokyo Marathon in a course record 2:06.50 before also breaking the Chicago Marathon course record later that year.