Patrick Makau threw down the gauntlet last month by breaking the world marathon record in the German political capital of Berlin and on Sunday, Wilson Kipsang took up the challenge in the financial seat of Frankfurt by winning the 30th BMW Frankfurt Marathon in the second fastest all-time mark of two hours, three minutes and 42 seconds, just four seconds shy of Makau’s world’s best time.
Ethiopia’s Mamitu Daska won the women’s race in a course record time of 2:21.57 with Kenyans Agnes Kiprop (2:23.53) and debutante Philomena Chepchirchir (2:24.32) completing the podium.
In the men’s race, second- and third-placed Levy Matebo (2:05.16) and Albert Matebor (2:05.25) both recorded personal best times.
Kingmaker Peter Kirui, who paced Makau to the record in Berlin, once again did a fantastic job as a pacemaker, taking the pack through in splits of 29 minutes and 25 seconds (10km), 43:59 (15km), 58:31 (20km), 61:40 (21km), 1:13.08 (25km), 1:27.49 (30km) and 1:42.43 (35km) before letting Kipsang through.
Went all the way
Kirui felt good and went all the way to finish his first marathon in an impressive 2:06.31 in sixth place.
Kipsang had boldly declared that he was going for Makau’s gargantuan world mark in Germany’s marathon and the policeman from Kerio Valley did not disappoint on Sunday with his impressive run which shaved 17 seconds off Ethiopian legend Haile Gebrselassie’s previous world best that was shattered by Makau.
Kipsang, the course record holder here from last year (2:04.57), led a sweep that saw 10 Kenyans finish in the top 11 and then threw a warning to Makau: “To my fellow Kenyan athlete and world record holder Makau, the message is that I’m closing down the gap...the world record is on the way...it is coming.”
The fantastic result, coupled with Kipsang’s forthrightness before the race, now sets the stage for exciting times ahead in Kenyan marathon running.
On Sunday’s race was by far the best Frankfurt Marathon and organisers will most certainly drown themselves with popular German froth, Weisbier, to celebrate the fact that 14 men dipped under 2:10 with seven of them running on world record schedule at 25kms.
Also prominent at the four-star Movenpick Hotel bar last night was Dutchman Gerard van de Veen of Volare Sports who manages Kipsang, Chepchirchir and Geoffrey Mutai.
Mutai is unoficially the world’s fastest marathoner after his 2:03.02 at the Boston Marathon this year. But with the Boston course not recognised as world record compliant, Makau is officially the fastest marathoner.
“Kipsang was prepared mentally and physically. He normally sets realistic targets for himself and his target this year in Frankfurt was the world record and a personal best time,” said van de Veen.
Mutai is in a star-studded cast that is on the way for next Monday’s ING New York Marathon. Also in the stellar cast is Virgin London Marathon champion Emmanuel Mutai.