I watched the 2011 Berlin Marathon (a qualifier for London 2012 Olympics) today. I was glued to my laptop for about one and a half hours watching the elite female and male runners toil from kilometer 11 all the way to kilometer 42. Talk about being a hardcore athletics fan!
Now these runners are not your average “marathoners.” Elite male runners finish a little over 2 hours only and elite women finish close to 2.5 hours.
World record holders, Paula Radcliffe and Haile Gebrselassie, kind of disappointed me. Gebrselassie paused at kilometer 27 and seemed to have chest and back pains. He then returned to the race and was helped by a Kenyan pacer (Stephen Kwelio Chemplany). Commentators were hoping that Gebrselassie would make it to the podium. He held on to third place for a while but eventually pulled out of the race at a little past the 33rd kilometer.
Radcliffe had previously won she won eight consecutive big-city marathons, but lost in her last, the New York Marathon. Today, she was consistently at second place to Florence Kiplagat of Kenya, but finished third, with Irina Mikitenko of Germany nabbing second.
Commentators repeatedly said that this has got to be the fastest marathon run yet. And it was! Makau beat Gebrselassie’s marathon world record by about 20 seconds (2 hrs, 3mins, 38 sec. Gebrselassie’s record stood at 2:03.59. What made me so happy was that a pacemaker went the extra distance (they usually pull out after 30 or so kilometers), finished the marathon, and won second place! Congratulations Stephen Chemplany!
With performances like these, we’ll be seeing men win the maraton in sub-2 hours in the coming years no doubt!
Trivia: Radcliffe and Gebrselassie are both asthmatics.
Another bit of trivia: This is Kiplagat’s first marathon. She did not finish the marathon during her first attempt at Boston.
This was such an exciting race. I’m so inspired for my marathon training!