Kipchoge Breaks World Marathon Record

John Gallagher sent me an email last week. Thank you John.

“Have you heard about the new world record set at the Berlin Marathon this month?”

He supplied me with a link to the new Economist article

Yes! Indeed I have. So I thought I’d do a little bit of an investigation for myself.

Eluid Kipchoge
The 33 year old Kenyan who posted a new marathon world record 1:01:39 in Berlin, 16 Sept 2018.
Broke the previous record by a staggering 78 seconds, the greatest improvement since 1967.

To put this into perspective, using our pace calculator, you would need to maintain an incredible 2:53 minutes per kilometre pace throughout the race!

The Course
Berlin is fast flat course, with an even running surface,
mild autumn conditions (14~18 degrees C in the last weekend of Sept).

Did you know Berlin has the most WR marathon times, Men and Women set on this course.
This is the 8th consecutive year (2011~2018) where Berlin has been the site of the world’s mens leading time for the year.
Men’s world records have been set on this course in 1998, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2018.
Women’s world records have been set in 1977, 1999 and 2001.

Let’s look at the course

Kipchoge’s Running CV
Let’s look at Kipchoge’s impressive running record:

Junior 5K world champ in 2003 12:52.61 (world junior record)
Bronze 5K Athens Olympics 2004
Silver 5K Beijing Olympics 2008 13:02.80

Switching to road running in 2012

1st Hamburg 2013 2:05:30 debut marathon
2nd Berlin 2013 2:04:05 ( William Kipsang 2:03:23 WR)
1st Rotterdam 2014 2:05:00
1st Chicago 2014 2:04:11
1st London 2015 2:04:42
1st Berlin 2015 2:04:00
1st London 2016 2:03:05
Gold Marathon in Rio 2016 2:08:44
1st Berlin 2017 2:03:32

AIMS Best Marathon Runner Mens in 2015, 2016 and 2017(awards announced in November)

1st London Marathon April 2018 in 2:04:17
1st Berlin 2018 2:01:39 (WR)

World Record Splits
Consider Kipchoge’s split time compared to the previous record held by Dennis Kimetto, set on the same Berlin course in 2014.

Split Kipchoge 2018 Kimetto 2014
5K 14:24 14:42
10K 14:37 14:42
15K 14:36 14:46
20K 14:19 14:26
Half 1:01:06 1:01:45
25K 14:28 14:32
30K 14:21 14:30
35K 14:16 14:09
40K 14:31 14:42
last 2.2K 6.07 6:28
Marathon 2:01:39 2:02:57

Kipchoge’s Personal Bests
For the record, Kipchoge’s PBs…

1500m 3:33.20 2004
5K 12:46.53 2004
10K 26:49.02 2007
Half 59:25 2012

In 2017 Kipchoge attempted the first sub 2 hour assisted marathon on the Monza Formula 1 motorsports track in Milan, under controlled conditions sponsored by Nike.
It was paced by a lead car, with 2 groups of 3 pacemakers rotated throughout the run.
Fluids were provided from a motorcycle.
This, of course, is all illegal under IAAF rules.

For the cynically, it was a Nike marketing ploy to promote their new shoe, the Nike Zoom Vaporfly Elite. For the hopeful, it was a chance to unofficially break the 2 hour marathon barrier. I guess the equivalent of breaking the 4 minute mile.

The pacemakers also form an arrow in front of the runners providing a drafting effect (it wasn’t just Kipchoge attempting to break the 2 hour mark).

Kipchoge finished with a time of 2:00:25.
Close, but not close enough.

The plan is to make 14:13 5K splits.

Split WR 2018 Unofficial 2017
5K 14:24 14:14
10K 14:37 14:07
15K 14:36 14:13
20K 14:19 14:15
Half 1:01:06 59:58
25K 14:28 14:14
30K 14:21 14:17
35K 14:16 14:17
40K 14:31 14:27
last 2.2K 6.07 6:20
Marathon 2:01:39 2:00:25

A live commentary of the event is available here.

Before this new official world record, I didn’t think it was possible… but maybe, just maybe, within my lifetime, I just might witness the breaking of the 2 hour marathon mark.
Wouldn’t that be something.

References: Wikipedia, The Guardian, The New Economist.

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