Men’s race – Makau over Mutai…again
On the men’s side, it was a repeat of the Rotterdam Marathon, as Patrick Makau dueled with Geoffrey Mutai over the final 10km, and edged him by 2 seconds (it was 7 seconds in Rotterdam). The winning time of 2:05:08 was just outside the Rotterdam performance, but it was hampered by very wet conditions on the streets of Berlin, and some erratic pace-making from one kilometer to the next – that may have been gusty conditions, it may have been puddles on the roads…
Nevertheless, it produced an enthralling race, which settled at about 15km, when it became clear that the world record was not going to fall. The race opened up at 30km, and it was Ethiopia’s Bizu Worku who did much of the early work. He was rewarded for his efforts with a third placed finish and a PB, and at just 20, he’s a name to look out for in the future.
However, today it was the two established names of Makau and Mutai. Makau made the big decisive move at 40km, pushing through a 2:51 kilometer to shake Worku’s resistance. Then it was down to two, and in the end, with 200m to go, Makau had enough to see off Mutai. There was no Martin Lel-like kick for the line, just a high sustained pace which Mutai was unable to follow. Makau then, has run and won two major marathons, both in around 2:05, and he is now right up there as one of the great marathon racers.
As is typical, a lot of talk after the race about what might have been in better conditions. It’s a pity there is such a pre-occupation about time, though given Berlin’s history, that’s to be expected. It was great to see a race in Berlin this year.
Women’s race – Kebede dominant
On the women’s side, it was Aberu Kebede who dominated the race. After a very slow opening 5km (18:03), she threw down the gauntlet with a suicidal 3:08 kilometer (I must admit some skepticism about the accuracy of that time). Only Bekele and Getaneh were able to to follow the pace, which soon settled at around 3:25 per kilometer. That pace eventually saw Bekele and Getaneh dropped, and Kebede ran most of the final 15km all by herself.
Having been locked together with her country-women at 25km, her lead grew enormously from that point. At 30km, her lead was 32 seconds. At 35km, it was 1:03. 40km, she had 1:13, and that increase in the lead was testament to her dominance on the day. And it wasn’t as though she shifted into a higher speed – she kept producing 16:40-something 5km, the others dropped below 17 minute/5km pace.
Her winning time of 2:23:58 is a PB, just outside the best in the world this year, but given the slow first 5km, and the conditions, it’s a great performance. Bezunesh Bekele held on for second, while Ganet Getaneh fell backwards progressively and dropped out before 40km. Third was eventually taken by Tomo Morimoto, just ahead of local favourite Sabrina Mockenhaupt, giving the locals something to cheer at the end.
Next up in the marathon season, Chicago, which should be a terrific (and fast) race!
But, before that, don’t forget the 5th Avenue Mile later today. The elite race starts at 12h50 ET, or 6h50 if you’re in South Africa (CAT). And we’ll have a live feed of that race here on the site, so check in later and be sure to catch what should be a great spectacle from the streets of New York!
Thanks for joining our Berlin coverage!
This post is part of the thread: Marathon Analysis – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.