New World Record!

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World records take a lot more than just desire to set one. It takes a lot of personal discipline, a fantastic training program, great training partners, near perfect weather, a fast course, and an X factor. Today, Dennis Kimetto had all of that in his corner as he ran the Berlin Marathon and set a new world record for the marathon with a time of 2:02:57 (a pace of 4:42 per mile).

I wrote yesterday that this was the race to follow today. Sure enough, it was just that. Berlin has been the home for the last five world records in the men’s marathon (before today). The race today by Kimetto and fellow Kenyan Emmanuel Mutai was an incredible performance that saw, for the first time, a human run under 2 hours and 3 minutes in the marathon. Not only that but Mutai, running a 2:03:13, also ran under the previous marathon world record by 10 seconds. That is a fantastic feat on the part of both men.

What’s next for the marathon? It is amazing to see how quickly the time has dropped. Over the last 11 years (to the day), the world record time has dropped 1 minute and 58 seconds. That has included 6 records along the way (counting today). Now that the record time is below 2 hours and 3 minutes, it has a lot of people talking about how long before we see a sub-2 hour marathon. That will not be an easy task at all and certainly not as scaleable as taking the mark from 2:05 to the current 2:02:57. Today’s marathon was run at an average of 4:42 pace per mile which is just a minute slower per mile than the world record mile time. To take it down to a sub-2 hour, it would require running an average of 4:35, or 7 seconds faster per mile! That is a huge improvement!

That is not to say that the 2 hour mark won’t be broken, but it is not going to happen tomorrow. At least we know that we are a mere 177 seconds away from it now! Congrats to Dennis Kimetto!

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • I think it certainly is feasible for a sub 2 hour marathon. I hope to see it in my lifetime.
    Other factors such as how fast the pace is in the beginning, consistency, weather, wind etc would also be factors.
    I think it would be super awesome if it occurs during olympics!

  • As a 4 hour marathoner this feat is awesome. Just amazing. I’m sure some day we’ll see a sub 2:00.00 as well.

  • Just thinking more about it, I hope the women marathon record will go down as well. I don’t think we’ve had a new record since Paula Radcliffe’s 2:15 back several years ago? I’m no running expert but if the women train with the men, perhaps they’ll get as fast as the men?
    Anyway, speaking of men & women (and boston marathon), I really hope the BAA does not further shorten the time requirements for men. 3:05 for men under age 34 is really really fast! I’m part of a running club and I feel it is easier for women to qualify for Boston given it’s a 3:35 time requirement. Perhaps that’s the “sweet spot” for the Boston marathon “award chart” 😉

    • The women’s record is simply unbelievable! I don’t think that there is a woman that can touch that one for a while. There is something about the physical makeup between the men and women that I think might always keep a gap between the two – in the marathon. When it comes to the ultramarathons, women actually have a smaller gap and, in fact, beat men quite often. So, the longer races do seem to suit the women racers a little better. I have no scientific knowledge of the physiological makeup for the distances and genders, but it is my observation on the two.
      You are right – I have felt that the 3:35 was a little unfair given what the equivalent is for me. We are actually getting closer to the qualifying times in the 80s (for the men), which was 2:50! I hope it never dips that low!