A side-by-side comparison of Kipchoge and Bekele’s Berlin Marathons
On Sunday morning, Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia ran just two seconds outside of the marathon world record in a finishing time of 2:01:41. On a slightly wet and humid day, following what Bekele described as a less than ideal build, his run on Sunday was phenomenal–but not quite good enough for a world record.
Both Kipchoge and Bekele ran their times on identical Berlin courses one year apart, and when examining the splits of the race, they’re shockingly similar except for a few minor differences (but when you’re talking about two seconds overall, minor differences matter).
If you put the splits side by side, Kipchoge and Bekele ran identical times through 5K (14:24), two seconds apart through 20K (57:56 and 57:58), one second apart through the half (1:01:05 and 1:01:06) and at 40K, nearly identical times again (1:55:30 to 1:55:32).
The biggest discrepancy in cumulative time between the two runs was the 30K split. Kipchoge was at 1:26:45 in 2018 and Bekele was 1:26:55 in 2019. Ten seconds in a marathon at most levels is a blink of an eye, but when we’re talking two seconds away from a world record, it makes a difference. The 30K mark was when when Bekele was noticeably behind Birhanu Legese, who was in a comfortable lead. Over the next 12K, Bekele made up a lot of time, but not quite enough time to snag the world record.
Relative to Kipchoge, Bekele started slightly faster (5-15K) and finished (25-40K) slightly slower. It’s possible that Kipchoge’s more conservative start could have given him the edge one year ago.
n two weeks’ time, Kipchoge will line up once again in hopes of making history. The current world record holder is aiming to become the first person to run under two hours for the marathon, a mark he attempted in 2017 with the help of Nike and the creation of the Breaking2 project.
posted Saturday October 5th
by Running Magazine