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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!