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Makau sets new world record, Gebrselassie flops

Sunday September 25 2011

Patrick Makau of Kenya celebrates after winning the 38th Berlin Marathon on September 25, 2011 in Berlin. He set a new world record in an official time of 2hr 03min 38sec. Photo/AFP

Patrick Makau of Kenya celebrates after winning the 38th Berlin Marathon on September 25, 2011 in Berlin. He set a new world record in an official time of 2hr 03min 38sec. Photo/AFP 

By AFP

Kenya's Patrick Makau set a new world record in the marathon on Sunday winning the Berlin Marathon in an official time of 2hr 03min 38sec.

The 26-year-old defending champion smashed the old mark of 2hr 03:59 set by Ethiopian legend Haile Gebrselassie in the same race in 2008.

Gebrselassie had a torrid time failing to finish, just as he did in New York last November, after being prominent up to the 35km mark.

Makau led home a Kenyan 1-2-3 with one of the six designated pacemakers for the event Stephen Kwelio Chemlany taking second in 2hr 07:55 while Edwin Kimaiyo was third finishing in 2hr 09:50.

Makau - a two-time half marathon world silver medalist - said he hadn't expected to set a new world record when he woke up.

"I didn't feel very well when I woke up this morning," said Makau, who showed he was a force in the event last year with two victories, here and in Rotterdam.

"But once the race got underway everything went well.

"At the 25km mark, I felt then I could break the world record.

"It is the most beautiful day of my career, it is super to beat Haile one of my heroes and, if God so wishes it, I will be Olympic champion next year."

Makau upped the pace dramatically at the 27km mark which left Gebrselassie trailing.

The Ethiopian, 38, was clearly in trouble and stopped briefly on the side of the route visibly exhausted before resuming but his race was up and just as in New York - where he was so disappointed he announced he was retiring - did not have the power to finish.

Gebrselassie had vowed before this race that he wanted to post a really fast time here to obtain his qualifying time for the next year's Olympics in London.

While Gebrselassie's race ended in tears another star name from the sport Paula Radcliffe enjoyed a more successful day out as she finished third in the women's race but crucially achieved the qualifying time for the Olympics.

Radcliffe, who will be 38 in November, had mixed emotions after the race which was her first over the distance in almost two years.

"I am happy and disappointed at the same time after this third place," said Radcliffe, whose sole global title came in this event at the 2005 world championships.

"But it's been a tough year, with a lot of ups and downs, everything I had to come through.

"But I have at least achieved the qualifying time for the London Olympics which is the essential thing.

"Now I have to build for London," added Radcliffe, who will be seeking to make it third time lucky at the Olympic marathon after failing to finish in 2004 and was 23rd in Beijing four years later.

Kenya's Florence Kiplagat won the race in only her second marathon while Germany's Irina Mikitenko, winner here in 2008, was second.

The 24-year-old - whose previous effort had seen her fail to finish in Boston in April - timed 2hr 19 min 43 sec.

"I came here in a confident frame of mind, even after failing to finish in Boston," she said.

"But its true that I was thinking above all of finishing the race. When I passed the 30km mark, I said to myself that I was going to finish."

Factfile on Makau

Honours

Marathon: 1st Berlin 2010 and 2011, Rotterdam 2010, 3rd London 2011

World half-marathon: team gold and individual silver 2007 and 2008

Records:

Marathon: 2hr 03min 38sec (world record) 25 September 2011 in Berlin

Half-marathon: 58min 52sec February 20 2009 in Ras Al Kaimah (UAE)

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