Press "Enter" to skip to content

Kipchoge Breaks Marathon World Record

Berlin, Germany —(Map)

On Sunday, Eliud Kipchoge smashed the world record for the marathon, beating the old record by a minute and 18 seconds. His time of 2 hours 1 minute 39 seconds makes it seem more likely that one day someone might run a marathon in less than two hours.

A marathon is a 26.2 mile (42 kilometer) running race. It is a hard race. Runners must not only be fast, but they must be strong enough to keep their speed up over a very long distance.

Berlin Marathon, 2015
A marathon is a 26.2 mile (42 kilometer) running race.
Runners must be fast, but strong enough to go a long way.
Many marathon world records have been set at the Berlin Marathon.
(Source: Copyright SCC EVENTS/camera4.)

Kipchoge is a 33-year-old Kenyan who many people believe is the best long-distance runner of all time. Before Sunday’s Berlin Marathon, the men’s marathon record was 2:02:57, set by Dennis Kimetto in 2014. Kipchoge had come close to that time several times, but had never beaten it.

Eliud Kipchoge (left) and Guye Adola in the 2017 Berlin Marathon.
Before Sunday, Kipchoge had come close to the world record, but not beaten it.
Eliud Kipchoge (left) and Guye Adola in the 2017 Berlin Marathon.
Kipchoge won the 2017 marathon in 2:03:32, in spite of the rain. Adola came in second.
(Source: Copyright SCC EVENTS/photorun .)

Like some pro runners, Kipchoge started the race with pacers. Pacers run with the athlete to help them run at the right speed. The pacers don’t plan to finish the race, but can usually run most of it before getting tired and letting the pro athlete go on alone.

But on Sunday, no one could keep up with Kipchoge – not the other runners, and not even his pacers. He lost two pacers after 10 miles (16 kilometers) and the last one fell behind not too long after the half-way point.

Pacers and race leaders, 2017 Berlin Marathon
Pacers run part of the race to help the athlete run at the right speed.
Pacers can be seen to the left in this picture of the 2017 Berlin Marathon.
Kipchoge (center) won in 2017. This year, his pacers couldn’t keep up with him.
(Source: Copyright SCC EVENTS/Petko Beier .)

Kipchoge finished the last 10 miles on his own. He did not seem to get tired. In fact, he ran the second half of the race faster than he ran the first half. Kipchoge ran 26.2 miles at an average speed of 4:39 (2:53 per kilometer). The second place runner was almost five minutes behind him.

“It was hard,” Kipchoge said. “I am just so incredibly happy to have finally run the world record as I never stopped having belief in myself.”

16.09.2018 Berlin Marathon Weltrekord
Eliud Kipchoge set a new world record for the marathon on Sunday.
His time of 2:01:39 beat the old world record by more than a minute.
The next runner came in almost five minutes later.
(Source: Copyright SCC EVENTS/camera4.)

Many people are shocked that Kipchoge was able to beat the world record by so much. 78 seconds is a big jump from the last record.

That big change has some people hopeful that Kipchoge can do what many used to think was impossible: run a marathon in less than two hours.

But Kipchoge joked that he wants to run slower next year. “The next is I’ve got to run 2:02,” he said, pointing out that he’s run marathon times of 2:00, 2:01, 2:03, 2:04 and 2:05, which means that 2:02 is missing. (Kipchoge’s 2:00:25 run happened last year on a special course with special conditions and does not count as a regular marathon time.)

Gladys Cherono winning the 2018 Berlin Marathon.
Gladys Cherono of Kenya won the women’s competition.
Her time was 2:18:11. This was her third win in Berlin.
(Source: Copyright SCC EVENTS/photorun .)

Gladys Cherono, also of Kenya, was the fastest woman in the Berlin Marathon this year. Her winning time of 2:18:11 was a record for the Berlin Marathon, but not a world record. This is the third time Cherono has won the Berlin Marathon.

Many marathon world records have been set at the Berlin Marathon. The course is mainly flat and the weather is usually comfortable for running. This year 44,389 people ran the marathon.


This map has not been loaded because of your cookie choices. To view the content, you can accept 'Non-necessary' cookies.



Most news on is appropriate for all ages. When there is news that may not be suitable for all ages, we try to tag it. You can use the setting below to control whether content tagged in this manner is shown.