Eliud Kipchoge moves to the top of the Abbott World Marathon Majors leaderboard with 50 points after an impressive run in today's BMW BERLIN-MARATHON. In spite of being hampered by shoe problems within the first 10 miles of the race, the 30 year-old Kenyan and the winner of April's Virgin Money London Marathon remained composed and unstoppable.
Under ideal conditions that saw little wind and a sun-kissed sky, the men's race moved swiftly through the half in 1:01:53 (23 seconds off of their pre-race projection of 1:01:30). With just one of the four pacers remaining, Kipchoge, Emmanuel Mutai, Geoffrey Mutai, Eliud Kiptanui and Feyisa Lelisa hit the 13.1 mark bunched together.
Shortly before 30K, the sole pacer dropped off, and Geoffrey Mutai became the first casualty of the fast pace. And with 10K to go, Kipchoge looked poised for victory as his lead grew more commanding and his fellow competitors failed to keep pace. Kipchoge hit 40K still on sub 2:04 pace, but he slowed slightly and crossed the line in 2:04:01, the fastest time in the world this year and a three second personal best. Kiptanui finished second (2:05:21) and Lelisa rounded out the top three (2:06:57).
In her first appearance in an Abbott World Marathon major and in just her second marathon, Gladys Cherono captured the win and 25 points, moving her to third place on the AWMM leaderboard (Birhane Dibaba, Caroline Rotich and Tigist Tufa also have 25 points).
Notwithstanding her status as a relative newcomer to the 42K distance, Cherono ran with the confidence and perceived experience of a veteran. She hit the half in step with two-time BMW BERLIN-MARATHON winner, Aberu Kebede, in 1:10:15. Meseret Hailu and Tadelech Bekele chased a few strides back, but the race appeared to be a duel between the two frontrunners.
Cherono moved to the lead around 32K, and by 40K, it was clear that she was going to become just the sixth woman in history to break the 2:20 barrier in Berlin. She crossed the line in 2:19:25, the fastest time in the world this year and a personal best by 38 seconds. Kebede hung on for second in 2:20:48, and Meseret Hailu finished a distant third in 2:24:33.
Top five Men
1. Eliud Kipchoge (KEN)
2. Eliud Kiptanui (KEN)
3. Feyisa Lelisa (ETH)
4. Emmanuel Mutai (KEN)
5. Geoffrey Mutai (KEN)
Top five Women
1. Gladys Cherono (KEN)
2. Aberu Kebede (ETH)
3. Meseret Hailu (ETH)
4. Tadelech Bekele (ETH)
5. Andrea Deelstra (NED)