Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: New marathon record set in Berlin by Eliud Kipchoge - Sun 25th Sept 2022

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

New marathon record set in Berlin by Eliud Kipchoge - Sun 25th Sept 2022

Last week, I had a post up about whether Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya could break his own marathon record of 2:01:39 in the 2022 Berlin Marathon?

Sure enough, he duly delivered last Sunday with an amazing time of 2h 01m 09s which was 30 seconds faster than his previous record set in Berlin in 2018.

The new record works out as an average pace of 4:37 per mile (2:52/km) for 26.2 miles which is just crazy.

The problem when reading media reports about new records is that it can often be difficult to know how much of an improvement a new record is. Is a 29-second improvement a lot? How much were the previous records broken by?

With that in mind, I put together a chart showing the progression of the marathon record since the year 2000.

After the 2002 record was set in London, the next six records were broken by these amounts... 43s, 29s, 27s, 21s, 15s & 25s... an average of 27-seconds. In this regard, the improvement by 30-seconds this year is a similar to the amount that the record was broken in previous years.

The major outlier recently though was Kipchoge's record of 2:01:39 in 2018 which was a huge improvement of 78-seconds on Kimetto's record of 2:02:57 set in 2014. 

The one major change in the last few years has been the advances in running shoe technology with inbuilt levers returning more energy to the athlete when the foot hits the ground. It very likely that this accounts for a lot of  the huge improvement of 78-seconds in 2018.

Is a sub 2-hour record possible??? The new marathon record of 2:01:09 is still 69-seconds away from the 2-hour barrier. Without some sort of game changing shoe tech, it's a huge gap to bridge.

On the 12th of October 2019 in Vienna, Kipchoge ran 1:59:40 for the INEOS 1:59 Challenge. This involved running 4.4 laps of the Hauptallee, a tree-lined avenue picked as the location because of its long, flat straight sections and its protection from the wind.

The effort did not count as an official new world record under IAAF rules due to several factors...

a) It was not an open event.
b) Kipchoge was handed fluids by his support team throughout.
c) The run featured a pace car.
d) Kipchoge had a team of 41 pacemakers, featuring some of the best middle and long-distance runners. 

It's worth noting that all of the marathon records since 2003 have been set in Berlin. In 2019, two Ethiopian athletes ran 2:02:48 and 2:01:41 in Berlin so it's seem to be the marathon of choice for the fastest times.

In November of this year, Kipchoge will be 38-years old and is probably close to the end of his running career. If someone does eventually break 2-hours then I suspect it will be someone younger and a really exceptional athlete.

It's possible that the marathon record in an open race may never reach two hours. The aerodynamic drag at these speeds is a major factor which may be the ultimate stumbling block.

Berlin Video... This video from Total Running Productions gives an overview of Kipchoge's race last Sunday.

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