Back in May, 1969 the Australian marathoner Derek Clayton ran 2:08:34 in Antwerp, Belgium, and that continued to be the World record target that would remain unchallenged for 12 and a half years.
At the recent Dubai Marathon, Kenyan Sammy Korir finished third in 2:08:01 and reached a landmark, becoming the first man in history with 10 lifetime sub-2:09s. The slowest of them has been a 2:08:27 and it has taken him just under a time span of 11 years to achieve something ten times that no man had even done once until the end of 1981.
Rotterdam – where Korir ran his first sub-2:09 in 1997 – and Amsterdam have been his favourite venues, where he's run three such times at each race. His fastest, of course, was his in his epic race to the wire against Paul Tergat at the 2003 real,- Berlin Marathon where he came up one second behind the new World record of 2:04:55.
Korir had also held a share of most sub-2:05s, but Haile Gebrselassie with his 2:04:53 at Dubai became the first with two. Gebrselassie also moved into a tie with Khalid Khannouchi with most sub-2:06s (three) and expanded his sub-2:07 total to six, twice as many as anyone else in history except Felix Limo (four). However, Khannouchi still has the most sub-2:08s with seven.
Stefano Baldini is scheduled to run the Flora London Marathon in April where he could become the first man with 14 lifetime sub-2:10s. He picked up numbers 11, 12 and 13 there from 2004-2006 but did not finish the 2007 race under adverse weather conditions.
Marty Post for the IAAF
Sammy Korir's lifetime sub-2:09s:
2:08:02 – Rotterdam, 20Apr97
2:08:24 – Amsterdam, 02Nov97
2:08:13 – Amsterdam, 01Nov98
2:08:27 – Turin, 02May99
2:08:14 – Rotterdam, 22Apr01
2:08:10 – Amsterdam, 20Oct02
2:04:56 – Berlin, 28Sep03
2:06:48 – London, 18Apr04
2:06:38 – Rotterdam, 09Apr06
2:08:01 – Dubai, 18Jan08