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Kenyans Sammy Kosgei and Mary Keitany demolished the existing world records* when storming to victories at the 30th edition of the BIG 25 road race in Berlin this morning.
Never before have both World records over 25Km been broken in the same race race. While Kosgei stormed to the finish inside Berlin's Olympic Stadium with a time of 1:11:50, Keitany clocked a sensational 1:19:53 to become the first woman to dip under 1:20.
Elite runners took full advantage of the perfect running conditions. While temperatures were between 12 and 14° Celsius there was practically no wind at all and the sky was overcast.
Kosgei outduels Kirwa
A big leading group of more than 20 African runners surged through the 5Km point in 14:29. While the first five kilometres after the start at the Olympic Stadium are slightly downhill pacemakers made sure that the pace was kept fast on the flat portions in the city centre. The 10Km point was reached in 29:01, followed by a very fast 5Km section of 14:04, for a 15Km split of 43:05. It was here that the group fell apart, leaving a duel to the finish between Kenyans Samuel Kosgei and Gilbert Kirwa, the winner of the Frankfurt Marathon in 2009. At first the defending champion Matthew Koech of Kenya ran together with the pair, but he soon dropped back.
The pace remained brisk even thought the portion of the course between kilometers 18 and 21 is slightly uphill. Kosgei – he was Haile Gebrselassie’s pacemaker in last year’s Berlin Marathon and was next to the Ethiopian when the 30Km World record of 1:27:49 was established in that race – Kirwa reached the 20Km in 57:22 before reaching the pair reached the Half Marathon point in a remarkable 1:00:42.
Over the final two kilometres the 24-year-old Kosgei opened a decisive gap, finally improving the World record set by Kenyan Paul Kosgei in this race in 2004 (1:12:45) by almost a full minute. Kirwa took second and he also achieved a sub 1:12 time with 1:11:58. Terefe Maregu (Ethiopia) was third in 1:13:16.
Altogether seven runners finished inside 1:14. Among them was the former World record holder Kosgei, who ran in the lead group until just before the the 15Km mark, finally finishing sixth in 1:13:48.
"It was my aim to run 1:12 here today," Kosgei said. "But I did not think that I could win this and I also did not expect to run sub 1:12. My next goal is running my first marathon. I would like to come back to Berlin for that in September. If Haile Gebrselassie should return I would look forward to this. And it would be my goal to beat him.”
Keitany from the gun
Right from the start Mary Keitany ran her own race at the front, supported by two pacemakers. With an even pace the 28-year-old World Half Marathon champion was on schedule for a time of around 1:20 throughout the race. She reached the 10Km mark in 31:58 – a time which would be good enough to win almost all of Germany’s 10Km races – and then clocked 47:58 at the 15Km point. Even on the course's uphill stretch on the way back to the Olympic Stadium, Keitany kept her rhythm and speed perfectly. Finally clocking 1:19:53 she smashed the World record set by Japan’s Mizuki Noguchi during the Berlin Marathon in 2005 where she ran 1:22:13 en route.
So dominant was her performance that Keitany was almost five minutes ahead of runner-up Alice Timbilil who stopped the clock in 1:24:38. Pasalia Kipkoech, who recently won the Berlin Half Marathon, took third ion 1:26:47.
"I have prepared long and intensively for this race and I had expected to break the world record," Keitany said. "But I did not expect to break it by such a margin and to run sub 1:20.” Keitany added that she expects to make her Marathon debut in the autumn.
"Two world records in one race and additionally a time barrier broken by Mary Keitany – you really cannot have a better jubilee race,“ said a thrilled Christoph Kopp, the elite athletes’ manager for the race.
In all, 10,114 runners from 47 nations registered for the race.
Jörg Wenig For the IAAF
Leading Results -
Results, Men: 1. Samuel Kosgei, KEN 1:11:50 2. Gilbert Kirwa, KEN 1:11:58 3. Terefe Maregu, ETH 1:13:16 4. Erick Rotich, KEN 1:13:24 5. Matthew Koech, KEN 1:13:45 6. Paul Kosgei, KEN 1:13:48 7. Felix Keny, KEN 1:13:53 8. Allan Kiprono, KEN 1:14:15 9. Joel Kimurer, KEN 1:14:34 10. Lusapho April, RSA 1:15:02
Women: 1. Mary Keitany, KEN 1:19:53 2. Alice Timbilil, KEN 1:24:38 3. Pasalia Kipkoech, KEN 1:26:47 4. Eunice Kales, KEN 1:29:05 5. Christine Chepkemei, KEN 1:29:30 * pending the usual ratification procedures