Haile Gebrselassie breaks marathon world record
September 28, 2008
Haile Gebrselassie smashed his marathon world record by
27 seconds Sunday, winning the Berlin Marathon in a city
where he has had so much success.
35-year-old Ethiopian took advantage of excellent
conditions on a flat course to finish in 2 hours, 3
minutes, 59 seconds. Despite an ailing calf he shattered
the mark he set in Berlin last year and became the first
man to win this race three times.
women’s race, Irina Mikitenko of Germany won in 2:19:19.
She improved her personal best by more than four minutes
to record the seventh fastest time for a woman.
Gebrselassie thanked the crowd of about 1 million for
helping him set his 26th world record.
came here, I knew I can do something here in Berlin
because since I started running, Berlin is my lucky
city," Gebrselassie said.
41,000 runers competed under clear, sunny skies in mild
temperatures. Gebrselassie paced himself well and was in
control for the 26.2 miles. He was way out front on
passing through the Brandenburg Gate.
Gebrselassie said a calf injury before the race forced
him to stop training for a week.
started again a week ago," he said. "Then today I had,
you know, some doubts ... but it was really very good."
Kwambai, who kept up with Gebrselassie for nearly 22
miles, finished second in 2:05:36, improving his
personal best by nearly five minutes. Another Kenyan,
Charles Kamathi, was third in 2:07:48.
course often provides fast times. Five years ago, Paul
Tergat of Kenya ran 2:04:55, becoming the first runner
to go under 2:05.
Gebrselassie first ran in Berlin in 2006 and clocked
2:05:56 before breaking the world record last year. In
three years, he has improved nearly two minutes on his
Ethiopian skipped the Olympic marathon in Beijing
because of the city’s pollution. However, he finished
sixth in the 10,000 meters, a race he won at Atlanta in
1996 and at Sydney in 2000.
broke the national record and become the fourth fastest
woman of all time, behind record-holder Paula Radcliffe,
Catherine Ndereba and Mizuki Noguchi.
Magarsa of Ethiopia was second in 2:21:31 and Helena
Kirop of Kenya finished third in 2:25:01.