Nairobi News


Kipchoge’s marathon world record proves too close, yet too far for Bekele

By Bernard Rotich September 29th, 2019 2 min read

Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele on Sunday came within 2 seconds of Eliud Kipchoge’s marathon world record in a remarkable race at the 2019 Berlin Marathon.

Bekele cut the tape in a time of two hours, one minute and 41 seconds which is just two seconds shy of the world record set by Kipchoge in last year’s race.


Kipchoge, who holds the current record of 2:01:39, skipped this year’s race and could not defend his title.

The world marathon record holder will be seeking to run in a project dubbed “Ineos 1:59 Challenge” in Vienna, Austria on October 12 where he wants to write history as the first man to run the marathon under two hours.

It was a good day for Ethiopian athletes who reigned in this year’s race after Kenyan athletes faded away in the early stages.

After 26km, it was a battle between Bekele and compatriots Birhanu Legese and Sisay Lemma.

The race became more competitive when Bekele was dropped by his mates before regaining the lead in the 37km mark and coasted to the finish line.


Legese finished second in personal best of 2:02:48 while Lemma settled for third in 2:03:36.

Jonathan Korir, who trains in Kaptagat in Elgeyo Marakwet County, could not match the pace and dropped at the 25km mark.

In the women’s race, Ethiopia’s Ashete Bekere emerged champion in a time of two hours, 20 minutes and 14 seconds.

Her compatriot Mare Dibaba finished second in 2:20:22 while Sally Chepyego was third in 2:21:06.

Former World Half Marathon bronze medallist Sally Chepyego was in the leading pack of four athletes before she was dropped in the 37km mark.


Chepyego who looked composed throughout the race was competing against three tough Ethiopians Dibaba, Bekere and Tola before being dropped.

In an earlier interview with Nation Sport, Chepyego said that she will be seeking to record her personal best in the race.

“Berlin Marathon is my second major marathon race and I will be seeking to run my personal best,” she said before flying out of the country.

Defending champion Gladys Cherono dropped after 30km.

Cherono, who trains in Eldoret in Uasin Gishu, was targeting her fourth win after winning the 2015, 2017 and 2018 editions.