Paul Tergat [photo courtesy]

World marathon record has remained in Kenya for 11 years – since 2011 when Patrick Makau set it at the Berlin Marathon.

Here The Nairobian takes a look at Kenyans who have broken the 42.195km world record.

Paul Tergat

During the race in 2003, Tergat badly tripped his foot. He later said it felt like the sole of his shoe fell off. He also took a momentary wrong turn near the finish. Sammy Korir, who was a pacesetter in the race, nearly caught up to him. Korir took second place in 2:04:56, then the second-fastest marathon performance in history. Tergat’s world record was broken in 2007 by Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia, setting 2:03.59.

Patrick Makau

Patrick Makau battled Haile Gebrselassie, the world record holder from Ethiopia in 2011. Makau dropped his more experienced rival after the halfway point and went on to finish in a world record time of 2:03:38 (an average pace of 4:42.9 per mile), beating the then existing record by 21 seconds. Prior to the race, he stated that he wanted to bring the marathon world record back to Kenya, following on from former record holder Tergat.

Wilson Kipsang

On 29 September 2013, he won the Berlin Marathon and set a new world record of 2:03:23, 15 seconds faster than the previous record by Patrick Makau. Eliud Kipchoge was runner up on his second marathon.

Kipsang, an alumnus of Tambach High School who qualified to join university but opted to be recruited into Kenya Police, says academics play key role to his athletics success, where physics and biology were his pet subjects in high school.

The runner from Muskut village in the rough terrains of Kerio Valley had his sizzling 2:03.23 mark he set in BWM Berlin Marathon as the world record.

Just like double world 3,000m steeplechase bronze medalist Milcah Chemos, Kipsang took up athletics after he was recruited into Kenya Police –and the law enforcement experiences must have honed his wit and running strategy.

“As a police officer, I have learned to gauge and plan my races well. I know going for a world record is quite a heavy task and I am happy my body responses are okay,” said Kipsang.

Dennis Kimetto of Kenya poses next to the timekeeping vehicle displaying his new world record, as he celebrates during the awards ceremony for the 41st Berlin marathon, September 28, 2014. REUTERS

Dennis Kimetto

On 28 September 2014, Kimetto broke the world record at the Berlin Marathon with 2:02:57 and became the first man to run under 2:03. It’s currently the fifth fastest time in history.

Kimetto rose from trapping moles in Kamwosor Village in Keiyo South to global fame, stunned the world when he ran a jaw-dropping 2:03.57 time in 42km –becoming the first man to run a sub-2:03 in marathon in 2014.

He used to set setting traps in order to flush out moles in people’s farms in his rural home to earn a living.

Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge stands in front of a clock displaying his time after winning the Berlin Marathon setting a new world record with 2h01m39s on September 16, 2018 in Berlin. / AFP PHOTO

Eliud Kipchoge

On 16 September 2018, Kipchoge won the Berlin Marathon in a time of 2:01:39, breaking the previous world record by 1 minute and 18 seconds (2:02:57 set by fellow countryman Dennis Kimetto at the Berlin Marathon in 2014). He finished 4:43 min ahead of second placed fellow Kenyan Amos Kipruto. The World Record holder from 2013, Wilson Kipsang of Kenya, came in third in 2:06:48.

From 2003 onwards, all previous six world records in the men’s marathon were set at the Berlin marathon. Kipchoge began the race with three pacemakers dedicated to him. After 5 km in the run, the gap between him and the Kipsang group was 9 seconds. After 15 km in the race, two of the pacemakers were unable to continue pacing him. The remaining pacemaker dropped out after 25 kilometres, leaving Kipchoge to cover the final 17 km alone.


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