Kenya’s Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge pulverized the marathon world record with a blistering run on Sunday, slicing a staggering 78 seconds off the previous best to land the one major running crown that had eluded him.
The 33-year-old, widely seen as the greatest marathon runner of the modern era, ran an official time of two hours, one minute and 39 seconds on a sunny day along the flat inner-city course, smashing Dennis Kimetto’s previous record that had stood since 2014.
Fellow Kenyan Gladys Cherono won the women’s race with a course record and best time of the year of 2:18:11, leaving Ethiopians Ruti Aga and pre-race favorite Tirunesh Dibaba in second and third place respectively.
Kipchoge’s run was the biggest improvement on the marathon mark since Australian Derek Clayton took almost two and a half minutes off the record in 1967.
“I lack words to describe this day,” said a beaming Kipchoge, a former world champion over 5,000 meters and marathon gold medalist at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016. “I am really grateful, happy to smash the world record.”
“They say you can miss it twice but not a third time. So I want to thank everyone who has helped me,” said Kipchoge, who had won in Berlin in 2015 and 2017.
“I am just so incredibly happy to have finally run the world record as I never stopped having belief in myself. Running a sub two hours two minutes was simply amazing and I believe I can still go below that with such good conditions.”
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