Kenyan marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge smashed the marathon world record in Berlin Sunday, beating the previous best set in 2014 by one minute 18 seconds.
The 33-year-old broke the world record by the biggest margin since Derek Clayton beat it by two minutes and 24 seconds in 1967. Kipchoge’s time was two hours, one minute and 39 seconds.
“It was hard,” Kipchoge told The Guardian. “I am just so incredibly happy to have finally run the world record as I never stopped having belief in myself.”
Kipchoge was able to make the record with limited use of pacemakers, people who swap in for the runner in different intervals. He ran solo for the last 17 kilometres of the race after his pacemakers dropped out much earlier than expected.
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Kipchoge’s world record is a victory 15 years in the making. The Kenyan first tasted gold at the 2003 world championships over 5,000 metres when he was 18, then claimed silver and bronze medals at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, respectively. Since moving to the marathon in 2012, Kipchoge was won 10 of 11 races over 26.2 miles, including gold in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
He is regarded as one of the greatest marathon runners of all time and is referred to as “the boss man” by his fellow athletes in Kenya.
In 2017, he lost out on becoming the first athlete to run the marathon under two hours by 26 seconds, but it was not considered a world record because he was helped by a team of 30 pacemakers.
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