Ethiopia’s Tigst Assefa broke the women’s marathon world record when she repeated her time of 2 hours, 11 minutes and 53 seconds as the Berlin Marathon champion on Sunday.
Assefa shaved more than two minutes off Kenyan Brigid Kosgei’s world record of 2:14:04 from the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She beat Kenya’s Sheila Chepkirui by almost six minutes.
“To break the record with such a result was not expected of me, but in some form I wanted to break the record,” Assefa said through a translator.
Assefa came from nowhere to win last year’s Berlin Marathon in 2:15:37, then the third-fastest women’s time in history. Her only marathon time before that was 2:34:01 (in a race she ran with an injury). Previously, she ran the 800 m at the 2016 Olympics in Rio and was eliminated in the heats.
BERLIN MARATHON: The results
For Assef, it was the third marathon in his career. According to the organizers of the race, before the London marathon in April, she scratched herself due to tendinitis.
Berlin is known as the fastest major marathon in the world because of its flat roads and usually optimal weather.
Also on Sunday, Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge claimed his fifth Berlin title in 2:02:42, the eighth-fastest men’s time ever.
Kipchoge, who lowered his world record by 30 seconds to 2:01:09 in Berlin last year, bounced back from sixth place in his previous marathon in Boston on Sunday, April 17.
He flirted with world record pace – 1:00:22 at the halfway mark – before his pace slowed. He ran the last six miles alone.
“I expected to do the same [as in 2022], but it didn’t come my way, but that’s the sport,” said Kipchoge, who took the lead after 91 seconds. “There’s a bit of a hiccup at the end, but that’s normal in racing.”
The 38-year-old has also strengthened his chances of making Kenya’s three-man team for the 2024 Paris Olympics, where he could become the first person to win three Olympic marathons.
After being the fourth Kenyan in Boston, his place at the Olympics was in doubt and six days later second Kenyan Kelvin Kiptum won London in the second fastest time ever.
Kenyan officials have not announced whether they will name the Olympic team before or after the spring marathon season.
The fall marathon season continues in Chicago on Oct. 8, featuring many U.S. Olympic contenders on Feb. 3: Galen Rupp and Conner Mantz for the men and Emily Sisson, Emma Bates, Aliphine Tuliamuk, Molly Seidel and Des Linden for the women .
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