It was a perfect storm, in a reverse kind of way -- clear skies, sunny weather, and a flat course conspired to let a veteran marathoner break the world record, the second time this has been done in the past two years.
Wilson Kipsang of Kenya celebrates with the Kenyan national flag after winning in the 40th Berlin marathon.
Wilson Kipsang, a 31-year-old runner out of Kenya, broke the world record previously set at the 2011 Berlin Marathon, clocking in at 2:03:23. The record time was 15 seconds faster than the previous record of 2:03:38, set by his fellow Kenyan Patrick Makau, also set in Berlin. Makau was unable to take part in the race due to injury and pulled out two weeks prior to the competition.
Kipsang's feat came as a surprise as the leaders fell 20 seconds behind Makau's pace after the first 30 kilometres. However, Kipsang was able to make up the deficit within the next 5 kilometres, storming back at the 37-kilometre mark to leave behind Kenyan competitor Eliud Kipchoge. Kipchoge, a former world champion at the 5,000 meters, finished the race at second with a 2:04:05 clocking, a personal best and beating Geoffrey Mutai's 2012 winning mark of 2:04:15.
Despite the record-smashing victory -- the ninth world record set in the notoriously fast Berlin course -- Kipsang thought he could do much better, especially since the weather was a nice as it could get in Berlin on an autumn day.
"If the wind would have been a little bit then it (the time) would come down," Kipsang answered when asked if it was possible to whittle down the time a bit more.
The win at Berlin will move Kipsang up to second in the world marathon majors series, which awards points according to placings at the major world marathons: Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York. The points are computed according to a two-year cycle. The current number one, Ethiopia's Tsegaye Kebede, won the Chicago and London races in 2012 and 2013, respectively. In contrast, Kipsang won the London Marathon in 2012, falling to fifth in 2013.
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