Dennis Kimetto and Tirfi Tsegaye were the winners in the men’s and women’s races at the Berlin Marathon, respectively.
Over 40,000 competitors took part in the race, which was run in crystal clear conditions, but all eyes were at the front of the pack to see how the elite athletes would fare around this notoriously quick course. It's for that reason the run in Germany is one of the most hotly anticipated on the distance running calendar and those spectators will have been far from disappointed by the standard of running on show.
Once again there was some blistering pace; Kimetto’s magnificent winning time of two hours, two minutes, 57 seconds is a new world record, as noted here by Pace Per Mile:
It was the fifth time in eight years that the world record has gone in Berlin, as the spectators roared Kimetto under the coveted 2:03:00 mark. Even Emmanuel Mutai—the man who finished in second place—was under Wilson Kipsang's previous benchmark of 2:03:23. Abera Kuma took third in 2:05:56.
Tsegaye won the women's race after a long battle with Feyse Tadese, who finished in second place. The United States' Shalane Flanagan finished up in third spot.
Here are the results from a fine day of marathon racing in Berlin:
|Berlin Marathon 2014: Resuls|
|3.||Shalane Flanagan||United States||02:21:14|
With world records falling freely in recent years at this particular race, there was no surprise that there were plenty of runners looking to put themselves in the frame for the title here.
In the men's race, it was apparent from the start that there were a host of competitors well primed for a tilt at the title, as noted by the official Berlin Marathon Twitter account:
The initial stages of the men's discipline were run at quite a steady pace, with the three pacemakers in the leading group starting off at a speed just shy of the world record mark.
But, impressively, as the race went on, the speed began to pick up and just shy of halfway through they were back on course for a very quick time, as noted by writer Ed Caesar:
As the pace increased, naturally runners started to drop. And when the three pacemakers stepped aside at the 30-kilometre mark, it was clear the race was going to come down to a battle between Kimetto and Mutai. But it was the former who was looking the smoothest out of the two, and when he injected another flurry of speed just before the two-hour mark, Mutai didn't have anything left.
Perhaps Mutai had gone out a little too quickly. Indeed, his split time of 1:27:37 at the 30-kilometre point would be a world record if verified.
Kimetto streaked away from his compatriot in the latter stages, and it became abundantly clear the world record was going to go. The big question was by how much?:
Kimetto eventually posted a time of 2:02:57 to make him the fastest man ever over 26.2 miles.
The women's race was a much more closely-fought affair, with a host of stellar names battling it out for the title. From a United States perspective, all eyes were on Flanagan, who was chasing Deena Kastor's American record of 2:19:36; a mark which has stood since 2006.
Ahead of this race, the 33-year-old admitted that time was a landmark that she was chasing, per Runner's World (h/t LetsRun.com):
Either you’re trying to win the marathon or you’re trying to run the record.
If a byproduct of the record is a win, that would be fabulous. But I’m going to do everything I can to get the record. This is purely about seeing how fast I can run over that distance. I think if I start to try and win, that could compromise the running.
But as things transpired, Flanagan was never able to get up to the pace required to topple that longstanding mark, or put together a real fight for first place in this Berlin Marathon.
The battle at the front emerged as a two-way scrap between the Ethiopian pair of Tadese and Tsegaye and it was the former who made the initial break at the front. She established an 11-second lead at one stage of the race to Tadese, and once Tsegaye got out in front, there was no runner capable of catching her.
The winning time of 2:20:18 is just shy of Tsegaye's best and although a victory at such an iconic event will come as great satisfaction to the Ethiopian, you suspect she will have been a little disappointed not to break 2:20:00 mark, or indeed get closer to Paula Radcliffe's 11-year-old world record of 2:15:25.
Flanagan was unable to put the afterburners on in order to keep pace with the Ethiopians at the front, but she was able to overhaul Tadelech Bekele to take third place in a respectable time of 2:21:14.