The Kenyan star clocked 2 hours, 1 minute and 9 seconds to cut 30 seconds off his previous high score of 2:01:39 on the same track in 2018.

Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge crosses the finish line to win the Berlin Marathon, Germany, Sunday, September 25, 2022. AP Photo / Christoph Soeder

BERLIN (AP) – He did it again.

Two-time Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge broke his own world record in the Berlin Marathon on Sunday.

The Kenyan star clocked 2 hours, 1 minute and 9 seconds to cut 30 seconds off his previous high score of 2:01:39 on the same track in 2018.

“My legs and body still feel young,” said 37-year-old Kipchoge. “But the most important thing is my mind, and that is fresh and young too. I am so glad that I managed to break the world record. “

Ethiopia’s Tigist Assefa unexpectedly won the women’s race with a route record of 2:15:37 – 18 minutes faster than ever before. It was the third fastest time ever.

“I wasn’t scared of my opponents even though they had better times than I was,” said 26-year-old Assefa.

Kenya’s Rosemary Wanjiru finished second on her debut at 2:18:00 – the second fastest debut ever – just ahead of Ethiopian runner Tigista Abayechew at 2:18:03.

Kipchoge and Assefy’s combined 4:16:46 time made the marathon the fastest ever. The men’s record was broken eight consecutive times in Berlin, favored by runners for its flat mileage.

This is Kipchoge’s fourth win in the city, matching the record set by Haile Gebrselassie. The Ethiopian great – just like now Kipchoge – also set two world records (in 2007 and 2008) in Berlin.

Conditions in the German capital were ideal for high-speed racing – chilly, around 52 degrees (11 degrees Celsius) after a night of rain, no rain, and no wind. About 45,527 runners from 157 countries have registered to participate in the first Berlin Marathon without restrictions since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of runners was cut by almost half under strict restrictions last year, and the 2020 race was canceled due to the pandemic.

Kipchoge set off at a furious pace on Sunday, making the first 10 kilometers in just 28:23 and reaching 42:32 per 15 kilometers, indicating an attempt of less than two hours. He broke the two-hour barrier in Vienna in 2019 when he ran 1:59:40 in a race against the rules.

Defending champion Guye Adola and Ethiopian compatriot Andamlak Belihu initially managed to keep pace, but Adola took a few meters back as Kipchoge covered several kilometers between 2:47 and 2:50.

Kipchoge and Belihu only completed the half marathon 59:51. Adola and Kenya runners Abel Kipchumba, Mark Korir and Bethwel Yegon followed at 1:01:25.

“I was planning on going out quickly in the first half,” said Kipchoge.

The last starter dropped 25km, leaving Kipchoge alone, but Belihu was on his heels.

Kipchoge slowed down a bit, reaching 30,000. at 1:25:40. Belihu was unable to keep up and followed him for 21 seconds before retreating further.

At this stage, the only question was whether Kipchoge would break his own record. He did.

Compatriot Mark Korir was second, almost five minutes behind him, followed by Ethiopian runner Tadu Abate. Belihu, who has been with Kipchoge the longest, finished fourth with a time of 2:06:40.

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