The 2:03:00 Barrier in the Marathon is Gone: Dennis Kimetto Runs 2:02:57 to Break the World Record in Berlin

September 28, 2014

The 2:03 barrier in the marathon is history.

Dennis Kimetto ran a lightning fast 1:01:12 second half to pull away from countryman Emmanuel Mutai of Kenya over the final 4 kilometers and win the 2014 BMW Berlin Marathon in a world record time of 2:02:57. Mutai’s brave effort resulted in a 2:03:13 second place finish, 10 seconds faster than the world record set last year in Berlin by Wilson Kipsang.

This was the fifth men’s world record set in Berlin in the last eight years. Simply amazing.

Kimetto’s world record run today also was the fastest marathon run in any conditions eclipsing the 2:03:02 wind-aided run by Geoffrey Mutai in Boston three years ago.

Dennis Kimetto and Emmanuel Mutai in Berlin (Full photo gallery coming) Dennis Kimetto and Emmanuel Mutai in Berlin (Full photo gallery coming)

The Race: A Three Way Battle Leads to Greatness

Article continues below player.

The world record was the stated goal in Berlin, but early on the leaders were willing to fall a few seconds behind world record pace, setting up a perfect negative split opportunity.

Six men and the rabbits hit half-way in 1:01:45 (2:03:30 pace).  The only big casualty at this point was World Marathon Majors leader Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia who fell off the lead pack around 19km.

At 25km, the lead pack still had the rabbits, and five racers, the three favorites, Kimetto, Mutai, and Geoffrey Kamworor, plus another Kenyan Franklin Chepkwony (3rd in Boston this year) and a lone Ethiopian Abera Kuma (5th at Worlds in 2011 at 10k and 5k).

Those five would stay together through 30km, as the pace increased every so slightly with the rabbits still in front.

Once the rabbits dropped out at 30km, Emmanuel Mutai made his push for history and the world record.  He hit the accelerator and briefly gapped and strung out the field behind him. Only, Kamworor and Kimetto could respond.

Overall, the field needed to average 2:55 a km to break the world record. Now with no rabbits and Mutai pushing the pace, the men were running sub 2:50 for the first time all day.

The 31st kilometer was 2:47, it was followed by a 2:46. Mutai had made the initial break, but then Kimetto led with Kamworor right there. All three men were now ahead of world record pace. Unless they ran each other into the ground, the world record looked like it would go down.

After a 2:52 kilometer (still faster than the world record pace), the hammer was put down again and the 34km was run in 2:48. That was too much for Kamworor and he fell off the back.

At 35km, it was a two man race, as Kimetto and Mutai were chasing history. Four and a half miles of racing remained but sub 2:03 was a real possibility. Kimetto and Mutai remained together until the 38km when Kimetto opened up a slight gap on Mutai. By 40km, the gap had grown to 7 seconds. There was almost no question at this point that the world record would fall with both Kimetto and Mutai ahead of pace.

The big question was could Kimetto hang on and run sub 2:03:00? His 40th kilometer had been a 3:00, one of only three 3:00+ kilometers the entire race. To break 3:00, Kimetto need to average 2:58 the rest of the way home.

2:02:57 World Record for Dennis Kimetto in the Marathon 2:02:57 World Record for Dennis Kimetto in the Marathon

He increased the pace to 2:57 on the 41st kilometer, and followed up with a 42nd kilometer of 2:55 and then crossed the line in 2:02:57.

Mutai was following in Kimetto’s wake, settling for second place in 2:03:13, faster than the old world record.

Behind Kimetto’s and Mutai’s brilliance, the rest of the field was paying the price for trying to stick with them. Kamworor lost nearly 2 minutes on the leaders from 35k m to 40k (nearly 40 seconds a mile). Kuma was chasing Kamworor  from behind and would beat him by 70 seconds the final 2km to take 3rd in 2:05:56, while Kamworor settled for fourth in 2:06:39, with Eliud Kiptanui rounding out the top 5 in 2:07:28.

Video highlights, photos, coming. Commentary below the results.

Results from race leaderboard and splits below with Commentary.

1 Kimetto, Dennis (KEN) M30 Kenia 02:02:57
2 Mutai, Emmanuel (KEN) M30 Kenia 02:03:13
3 Kuma, Abera (ETH) MH Äthiopien 02:05:56
4 Kamworor, Geoffrey (KEN) MH Kenia 02:06:39
5 Kiptanui, Eliud (KEN) MH Kenia 02:07:28
6 Chepkwony, Frankline (KEN) M30 Kenia 02:07:35
7 Matebo, Levy (KEN) MH Kenia 02:08:33
8 Kiptanui, Maswai (KEN) MH Kenia 02:10:18
9 Kebede, Tsegaye (ETH) MH Äthiopien 02:10:27
10 Tomaru, Kazuki (JPN) MH Japan 02:11:25
11 Cabada, Fernando (USA) M30 USA 02:11:36
12 El Hachimi, Abdelhadi (BEL) M40 02:12:45
13 Yamamoto, Ryo (JPN) M30 Japan 02:12:49
14 Overall, Scott (GBR) M30 Blackheath @ Bromle… 02:13:00
15 Tokumoto, Kazuyoshi (JPN) M35 Japan 02:14:35
16 Maeda, Kazuhiro (JPN) M30 Japan 02:15:18
17 Manninen, Henri (FIN) MH Finnland 02:16:43
18 Buccilli, Carmine (ITA) M30 Atletica Casone Noc… 02:16:45
19 Cierpinski, Falk (GER) M35 SG Spergau 02:17:25
20 Grano, Giovanni (ITA) MH Italien 02:17:44
21 Comendador, Jose Espana (ESP) MH Spanien 02:19:11
22 Silva, Tiago (POR) MH ADRAP 02:19:27
23 Rojas, Kevin (MEX) M30 Brighton and Hove A… 02:19:36
24 Le Porho, David (CAN) M35 Asics – Le Coureur 02:20:23
25 Del Val Gonzalez, Julio (ESP) M30 CAPOL 02:20:27
26 Gobena, Ahmed (ETH) M35 02:20:38
27 Homolác, Jirí (CZE) MH adidas Running TEAM 02:20:39
28 Natali, Paolo (ITA) M30 Italien 02:20:55
29 Trebbien Andersen, Jesper (DEN) M30 Sparta Copenhagen 02:22:18
30 Königs, Roger (BEL) M35 RFC Liege 02:22:49


split time diff
01 km 00:02:52 00:02:52
02 km 00:05:46 00:02:54
03 km 00:08:46 00:03:00
04 km 00:11:43 00:02:57
05 km 00:14:41 00:02:58
06 km 00:17:36 00:02:55
07 km 00:20:32 00:02:56
08 km 00:23:29 00:02:57
09 km 00:26:28 00:02:59
10 km 00:29:23 00:02:55
11 km 00:32:18 00:02:56
12 km 00:35:22 00:03:04
13 km 00:38:21 00:02:59
14 km 00:41:19 00:02:58
15 km 00:44:09 00:02:50
16 km 00:47:03 00:02:55
17 km 00:49:59 00:02:56
18 km 00:52:53 00:02:54
19 km 00:55:44 00:02:51
20 km 00:58:35 00:02:51
21 km 01:01:29 00:02:55
HALF 01:01:45 00:00:16
split time diff
22 km 01:04:23 00:02:39
23 km 01:07:16 00:02:53
24 km 01:10:10 00:02:54
25 km 01:13:08 00:02:58
26 km 01:16:02 00:02:55
27 km 01:18:56 00:02:54
28 km 01:21:53 00:02:57
29 km 01:24:47 00:02:54
30 km 01:27:37 00:02:50
31 km 01:30:23 00:02:47
32 km 01:33:09 00:02:46
33 km 01:36:01 00:02:52
34 km 01:38:49 00:02:48
35 km 01:41:47 00:02:58
36 km 01:44:39 00:02:53
37 km 01:47:35 00:02:56
38 km 01:50:33 00:02:58
39 km 01:53:29 00:02:56
40 km 01:56:29 00:03:00
41 km 01:59:25 00:02:57
42 km 02:02:20 00:02:55
FINISH 02:02:57 00:00:37

QT #1: 2:02:57!!!!!!!!!!

The world record falling was great, but the 2:03 barrier going was even better. Not that a 2:03:01 would have been disappointing, but today’s run by Kimetto deserved the 2:02 exclamation mark.

QT #2: Dennis Kimetto : King of the Marathon

Kimetto’s story is truly remarkable. He ran his first marathon only 2 years ago in Berlin, running 2:04:16, the fastest debut ever. Then he set a course record in Tokyo, followed it up with a course record in Chicago, before dropping out of Boston, and setting the world record today.

A truly remarkable marathon career. Two years ago, virtually unknown at the age of 28, now the world’s best in the marathon. It might be more accurate to say he’s the world’s best in the marathon on the flat roads, since Boston and New York’s courses are so unique.

Kimetto was quoted by the Associated Press as saying, “I feel good today for today is a big day for me. The fans made me confident and I thought I could do it. From what I saw today, times are coming down and down. So if not today, then tomorrow. Maybe next time we’ll get 2:01.”

QT #3: Emmanuel Mutai Deserve a Ton of Credit for the 2:02:57

Kimetto was the deserved champion, but he might want to give a big thank you to Emmanuel Mutai for pushing the pace once the rabbits dropped out at 30km. Without Mutai’s guts and injection of pace at 30km, no way is the 2:03:00 barrier broken today.

Mutai also deserve a ton of credit for the way he handled the loss.

“I feel good for the achievement I achieved today. It wasn’t easy. The race was a bit tough, but you know, I was fighting, and the better man won,” said Mutai after the race according to the Associated Press. “We tried to push it, so we achieved what we achieved.”

QT #4: Move Over Paul Tergat, Mr Silver is Emmanuel Mutai

Mutai did everything he could today breaking the old world record by 10 seconds. Yet, all it did was get him second place by 16 seconds. Mutai has won one major and finished second now an incredible SIX times, including last year at Chicago where Kimetto beat him with a course record runWe said coming into this race that in many ways we though Kimetto’s 2:03:45 in a competitive situation in Chicago might be superior to the WR and today’s run showed that was the case.

QT#5: American Fernando Cabada PRd at 2:11:36 to place 11th

Cabada, who had a 2:11:53 pb from when he was 7th at the 2012 US Olympic Trials, went out in 65:12 today, giving himself a chance at the 2:10 barrier. By 40k (2:04:40), he was on 2:11:30 pace and he held up pretty well over the final 2.2 km.

On the year, Cabada is now the fourth fastest American.

Top 2014 American Marathon Times.
1. Meb Keflezighi 2:08:37 Boston
2.  Jeff Eggleston 2:10:52 Gold Coast
3. Ryan Vail 2:10:57 London
4. Fernando Cabada 2:11:36 Berlin
5. Nick Arciniaga 2:11:47 Boston

QT #6: This was a very lucrative day for Dennis Kimetto financially.

Setting a world record in the men’s marathon is always very lucrative. In addition to official prize money, the real money comes from a huge shoe contract bonus, plus for the rest of your life you can pick up speaking/appearance gigs. In addition to that, Kimetto might also have picked up $500,000 for the 2013-2014 World Marathon Majors title.

Officially, we know that Kimetto will get 50,000 euros for the win, 30,000 euros for breaking 2:04 and 50,000 euros for the WR. So 120k euros total , that’s roughly $154k.

But with the win today, Kimetto also has vaulted to the top of the World Marathon Majors point standings for 2013-2014. Kimetto will win the 2014 WMM $500,000 title unless Wilson Kipsang wins the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon. So today’s win and WR could soon officially be worth $654,000 for Kimetto.

*Video Highlights

Discuss: Kimettooooooooooo 2:02:57!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
*Official 2014 BMW Berlin Marathon Live Thread 
*Kimetto perfect running style for marathon
*How much did Kenenisa Bekele just shit himself? 

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