With every record-breaking performance, more marathon watchers are modifying the question, “Will the two-hour barrier be broken?” to “When will the two-hour barrier be broken?”
Dennis Kimetto became the third Kenyan in four years to break the 26.2-mile record at the Berlin Marathon on Sunday. He clocked 2 hours, 2 minutes, 57 seconds. Kimetto broke the previous record, less than a year old, by 26 seconds.
“I am expecting a marathon in two hours,” Kimetto reportedly said after.
Second-place Emmanuel Mutai, who also finished faster than the previous world record, agreed. “Times are coming down,” the fellow Kenyan said.
Take that for what it’s worth.
Statistically, a sub-two-hour marathon appears inevitable. Nearly 10 minutes have come off the world record in the last 50 years. More than 5 minutes in the last 30 years. The first sub-2:06 came in 1999.
The last 6 WR were all set in Berlin, over period of 12yrs (5 in last 8). Average improvement = 24s). At same rate, 1:59:59 happens in 2026— Ross Tucker (@Scienceofsport) September 29, 2014
If and when Kimetto’s record will be beaten, it will very likely come in Berlin. The last six marathon world records were set there. More and more, this world record is becoming a product of a tailored setting.
The German capital is an autobahn with its combination of flat roads, pacesetters and, fortunately the last few years, ideal weather. Also key is its World Marathon Major status/hefty financial incentive that attracts multiple elite runners who can push each other after the pacesetters drop off.
Who knows, the man to break Kimetto’s world record could very well be Kimetto.
He’s 30, but he’s younger in marathon years, having debuted at the 2012 Berlin Marathon with the fastest first-timer clocking ever (2:04:16). He won the 2013 Chicago and Tokyo Marathons in course records before dropping out of this year’s Boston Marathon with a hamstring injury.
“Actually, I think I could still be a very good runner ten years from now, at 40,” Kimetto said Monday, according to Track and Field News.