eliud-kipchoge-of-kenya-rewrites-history

Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya Rewrites The History Books

Story posted September 27, 2022 in

History books were rewritten this past Sunday as Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya broke his own world record at the 2022 BMW Berlin Marathon by clocking 2:01:09 for the 26.2-mile race.

For Kipchoge, who is regarded as the best marathon runner of all time, this race puts the final nail in a coffin of dominance over this distance. Now 37 years old, Kipchoge boasts an impressive resume including 10 victories at world marathon major races and two Olympic gold medals in the event.

He is most well known for being the first and only person to ever run under two hours in the marathon when he ran 1:59:40 during the Nike and INEOS sponsored “1:59 Project.” While this is technically the fastest marathon ever run, the record cannot be ratified as it was done using a slew of pacers - both humans and laser-guided pace markers - and was run on a closed course with zero competitors.

The Berlin Marathon is a notoriously fast course, and temperatures in the mid 50’s with sunny skies proved to be perfect conditions for Sunday’s race. The 9:15 a.m. starting gun signaled over 45,000 harriers to begin their charge through the streets of Berlin.

The lead group of roughly seven athletes quickly broke away from the rest of the pack as they made their way through the five-kilometer mark in a brisk 14:14 split. This pack contained a strong group of elite east-African runners, each of them eying a coveted win at such a massive race.

The pack quickly broke apart as racers couldn’t sustain such a quick clip. By the half-marathon point only one other runner- Andamlak Belihu of Ethiopia- remained with Kipchoge.

Even after covering over 13 miles, Kipchoge seemed unperturbed by the immense physical strain he was enduring. His relaxed arms and near-perfect form made him appear as though he was floating over the pavement, unaffected by gravity itself.

Belihu began dropping off the pace after the half marathon, leaving Kipchoge to finish the rest of the race alone. At the 20-mile mark, Kipchoge had amassed a gap of two minutes on second place, and nearly three minutes on the third-place runner.

Reaching the 20-mile point in a marathon is lovingly referred to as “hitting the wall.” It’s a point where a person’s legs fatigue so much, they are forced to slow down or even drop out of the race altogether. Kipchoge’s experience and fitness truly shone through during the last 10 kilometers in Berlin, as he managed to hold strong, further distancing himself from his competitors.

Kipchoge rounded the final bend and stormed under the Brandenburg Gate to arrive at the finish with a grin on his face in 2:01:09, hacking 30 seconds off his previous record set on the same course back in 2018. He put on a masterclass in marathon running, ending the race with a 4:49 lead over second place, and a 5:19 second gap between himself and third place. To win by such margins in elite running is simply unprecedented.

Kipchoge’s final time equates to an average pace of 4:37 per mile, a pace certainly faster than your high school gym class mile time.

While it was already well known, this race propels Kipchoge to further than a generational talent; it skyrockets him into legend status. He’s the Michael Jordan or Tom Brady of the running world.

While now at the age of 37, some may think his career may be inching to an inevitable end. His dominance at the 2022 Berlin Marathon certainly counters this theory as he completely ran away from a star-studded field of athletes.

Kipchoge truly is living proof of his famous quote and ideology that “no human is limited.”

 

Ryan French is a first-year student majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, please email rpf5336@psu.edu.