On September 28th, 2014 at the Berlin Marathon a new world record for the Marathon was established. Dennis Kimetto, 30, ran 2:02:57, just out-sprinting the 2 hr 3 barrier. Kimetto’s new mark bests the previous world record set last year in Berlin by 27 seconds. Kimetto finished only seconds ahead of countrymen Emmanuel Mutai (who also bested the previous WR) whom he pulled ahead from over the last 5K of the 26.2 mile race.
Click here for a full video of the race: 9/28 WR Marathon
(Kimetto, above, set the WR Marathon on Sept. 28 in Berlin at 2:02:57)
Those who paid close attention to Kimetto’s progression could have potentially predicted the historic run. After disappearing from the track and field circuit for several years, he made a big comeback on the roads. In 2012 at the Berlin marathon, Kimetto set the record for the fastest marathon debut ever in 2:04:16. He followed this up with a win in the 2013 Tokyo and 2013 Chicago marathons, only to drop out in Boston earlier this year. Clearly that result no longer bothered him.
(Kimetto, 30, is the first man under 2hrs 3mins in the marathon)
With the world record marathon now eclipsing 2:03, the reality of a sub-2 hour mark is suddenly becoming clearer. But how far off are we from seeing such a feat? And who would be the one to accomplish it?
The first runner to ever break 2:20 was Jim Peters of the UK in 1953. Peters broke the record four times, besting his own mark 3 times in a span of two years before ultimately setting the mark at 2:17 in 1954.
Only 13 years and 12 world record times later, did Australian Derek Clayton break the 2:10 barrier by running 2:09:36 in 1967. After this, the world mark was continually bested at most every four years until 2003, when Kenyan Paul Tergat ran 2:04:55. This was the first sub-2:05 marathon.
It would take five years to the day for the record to be pushed under 2:04, when Ethiopian Halie Gebrselassie ran 2:03:59.
Six years later and three world records later, Kimetto became the only runner to go under 2:03.
It is also interesting to note that 4 of the last 5 record holders were Kenyan, and that all 6 of the previous WR marathons have been run in Berlin.
For a detailed chart of the World Record Marathon Progression click here.
While many minutes have dropped off of the world record marathon over the past several decades, it has become increasingly harder to shave even seconds off existing records. Cutting three minutes off of the current record would involve a substantial drop in pace.
Kimetto’s new record was run at a staggering 4:41 mile pace. A time of 1:59:59 would require a 4:34.5 mile pace. This would be a nearly unfathomable improvement across 26.2 miles. While it could potentially be done, it will likely take many decades before such a mark could be achieved.
So when is the next world record likely to take place? Judging by the current progression it’s likely to happen at some point within the next two years, however course conditions can play an enormous role.
Look out as current WR holder Kimetto and previous WR holder Wilson Kipsang face off in the New York marathon on November 2nd. Additionally watch for (reigning track and field World Record holder) Kenenisa Bekele in the near future. Bekele competes in only his second marathon tomorrow (October 12, 2014) in Chicago.
(Watch out for 5K and 10K WR holder Kenenisa Bekele, above, as he transitions to the marathon.)
Do you think the world record will ever eclipse 2 hours? What is your favorite marathon? Comment below or respond on our Facebook page!
-The Run Away Guy