Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge sets new marathon world record in Berlin

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But what more it more impressive still was the fact that Kipchoge had to run the last 17 kilometres (10.5 miles) alone after his pacemakers dropped out early. All of the top three runners are from Kenya. He threw his arms up on his head in disbelief and then jumped into the arms of his longtime coach, Patrick Sang.

Berlin debutant Amos Kipruto came second in 2 hours, 6 minutes and 23 seconds, followed by a third Kenyan, former world-record holder Wilson Kipsang, who was 25 seconds behind. While trying to shatter the two-hour marathon barrier, Nike devised a plan for Kipchoge to race under optimal conditions where temperatures were almost ideal for the Formula 1 track in Monza, Italy and he could be assisted by an alternating cast of pacers almost every step of the way.

By 40 kilometrers, reached in 1:55:32, a world record looked a certainty.

Within the space of a kilometre, he lost two pacemakers, forcing him to reassess and re-organise with just Josphat Boit to guide him.

He accelerated over the final two kilometres and with his eyes on the finishing line shone the crowd with his infectious smile, striding to cut the tape in a new record time, by a whooping one minute and 18 seconds. It was just a matter of how much time he could take off Kimetto's record.

Kipchoge's run was the biggest improvement on the marathon mark since Australian Derek Clayton took nearly two and a half minutes off the record in 1967.

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"It was hard", Kipchoge said. "The next is actually to run 2:02 so I have 2:00, 2:01, 2:02, 2:03, 2:04 and 2:05", Kipchoge joked after the race.

Kipchoge ran at the front from the very first metre, and despite some turbulent times in the first third of the race when his pacers faltered, stormed home to take another win and lower the world record by a remarkable 78 seconds.

This was a triumph 15 years in the making.

The 33-year-old Olympic marathon champion had the world record in the bag with plenty of room left to run.

"I lack words to describe this day", Kipchoge said after becoming the first person to finish a marathon in less than 2 hours, 2 minutes.

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