GEBRSELASSIE ACHIEVES FIRST SUB-2:04 MARATHON IN BERLIN Mikitenko Joins Sub-2:20 Club
By David Monti
(c) 2008 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.
Haile Gebrselassie became the first man in history to break the two
hour and four minute barrier when he won today's real,- Berlin
Marathon, shattering his own world record set on the same course one
year ago. The 35 year-old Ethiopian, who now owns the three fastest
marathon times in history, clocked 2:03:59 under sunny skies
accompanied by comfortably cool temperatures (10°C to 12°C).
"I'm so happy," Gebrselassie told race organizers immediately after the
race. "Everything was perfect, the weather, the pacemakers. Two weeks
ago, I had a little problem, I ran 20-K 40 seconds faster than in my
preparation last year. But I had some cramps, and missed a week's
training. I started again a week ago, and had some doubts today, but
in the end, everything was fine. This really is my lucky city."
It was Gebrselassie's third victory at Berlin, and he won 130,000 in
prize money and time bonuses (USD 190,000) in addition to an
undisclosed appearance fee. He lowered his previous standard of
2:04:26 by nearly half a minute.
The tiny Kenyan James Kwambai was able to stay with Gebrselassie
through 36 km and finished second in a huge personal best of 2:05:36,
while his compatriot the, 2001 world 10,000m champion Charles Kamathi,
finished third in 2:07:48.
In the women's race, 2008 Flora London Marathon Champion Irina
Mikitenko became the ninth woman and second European to break the 2:20
barrier, shattering the German record for the standard marathon
distance with a 2:19:19 clocking. It was her second World Marathon
Majors victory of the year, and she is now tied with Gete Wami for the
2007/2008 series lead with 65 points.
Mikitenko left her rivals, including Ethiopia's Askale Tafa Magarsa and
Kenya's Rose Cheruiyot and Helena Kiprop, around 30 km into the race
before bolting to victory. Magarsa would finish second in a personal
best 2:21:31, while Kiprop was third in 2:25:01, also a career best.
Depending on how one counts them, today's Berlin mark was
Gebrselassie's 24th world record or best. Some statisticians would
argue it was his 26th, but two marks --a 41:22 15-K set in Tilburg in
2005 and 1:11:37 25-K set in Alphen aan den Rijn in 2006-- could not be
ratified by the IAAF. The 15-K was an intermediate time in a ten mile
race which was not taken officially, and the 25-K time was disallowed
by the IAAF because the post-race doping screen did not test for EPO
(the time was also achieved using pacemakers who entered the course
after the race had already started, another rule violation).
Gebrselassie's world records and "bests" are listed below (courtesy of Marty Post):