Paul Tergat: “This marathon has made history“

“This marathon has made history“, Paul Tergat said after running a

spectacular new world record in the 30th real,- BERLIN MARATHON. The Kenyan

crossed the finish line of the new course at Brandenburg Gate in 2:04:55 and

became the first runner to run sub 2:05. “Please Paul, bring this record

to Berlin“, Tegla Loroupe, who ran a world record in 1999 in Berlin, had

said before the race. Paul Tergat just did it. He smashed Khalid

Khannouchi's mark, which was 2:05:38 from the London Marathon in 2002.

Instead of, as expected, running alone during the last few kilometres Paul

Tergat had company: Sammy Korir came close again on the last few metres and

finished just one second behind. Besides Titus Munji it was Korir who had been

Tergat's most important pacemarker during the race. Munji (Kenya) was third

in 2:06:15. Regarding these three results the real,- BERLIN MARATHON was the

best ever marathon. Taking the average time of the first three Kenyans that is

still faster than Khannouchi's former world record. Munji's result is

now the eighth fastest time ever. Additionally no other team has been as fast

as those three Kenyan's, who all belong to the same training group of Dr.

Gabriele Rosa. Their team time in Berlin was 6:16:06. It was in Amsterdam in

1999 when the first three Kenyans had run 6:20:26 as a team. While it was

probably not a surprise that Paul Tergat ran a world record in perfect weather

conditions with temperatures between 9 and 16° Celsius and no wind, there

was another world record in the men's race which was indeed a surprise:

Andres Espinosa (Mexico), the winner of the New York Marathon 1993 became the

first master runner to run sub 2:10. Espinosa finished fourth in 2:08:48. In

front of about a million spectators Paul Tergat, who earned 120.000 Euros in

Berlin, was helped by two great pacemakers: Korir and Munji, who stayed in the

race and both were rewarded with world class time on the new Berlin course with

the finish at the Brandenburg Gate. The new course proved that it was as fast

as the old one was. It was in the beginning, when the pace changed several

times. First the leading group was going to fast, then they slowed to much. So

the kilometre splits changed from 2:54 to 3:07. But finally the pacemakers

found the right pace and passed the half way mark as planned in 63:01 minutes.

It was after the 25 k mark (1:14:42), when Paul Tergat pushed the pace himself

for the first time. That was, when last year's winner Raymond Kipkoech was

dropped. He finally came in fifth in 2:09:21. The Kenyan who had won in 2:06:47

last year, was supposed to be Tergat's main rival on his way to his first

marathon win. Five times before Tergat had missed victory in a marathon. Tergat

had said before the race that he will give everything he has in the second

half. But Munji and Korir stayed in front of him remarkably long. “I have

to thank them both – they have helped me to achieve this world record. In

the morning when it was clear that we would have perfect weather conditions we

decided to go for the world record. But although they were the pacemakers I

expected that they would run the whole race“, Tergat said. At 30 k

(1:29:24) and at 35 k (1:43:59) the three were still together. Meanwhile the

split times had dropped clearly under three minutes. At one stage, between 30

and 31 k, they ran even 2:47. It was at 36 k, when Sammy Korir tried to surge

away, but he could not drop Paul Tergat. Titus Munji was beaten at this point,

but Tergat was now running no longer behind but next to Sammy Korir. It was on

the last kilometre, when the two could already see the Brandenburg Gate Unter

den Linden, that Tergat could finally leave Korir behind. But drama continued

for Tergat on his way to victory. He was somehow irritated and did not chose

the shortest way through the Brandenburg Gate. And Korir could then almost

close the gap again. So there were just a few metres separating the two at the

finish line. But also were celebrating in the finish, when they hugged each

other. “The last few metres were very exciting. I then said to Sammy

simply: we did it“, Tergat said later. “I was supposed to run the

Amsterdam Marathon – that was the race I originally trained for. But when

I saw these very fast split times I decided to stay in the race“, Korir

said. He had a marathon best of 2:08:13. It was the same reason for Munji to

stay in the race. “I want to thank my wife, my manager and the organisers

who all supported me to make this possible“, Paul Tergat said in a first

statement. Later on he added: “There was great support by the spectators,

that helped a lot. I think today we got the maximum result that was possible

for us. In future I might perhaps be able to run something like 2:04:30. But I

don't expect to be able to run a 2:03.“ Asked if he was somehow

relieved that he finally won a marathon, Paul Tergat said: “I always said

I know that my time in the marathon will come if I stay focussed. And felt that

I would be able to break the marathon one day. Now that has happened and I am

very happy.“ The women's race was of course somehow pushed in the

background because of the men's event. Yasuko Hashimoto surged away from

Emily Kimuria, who is a training compatriot of Tegla Loroupe, before the 35 k

mark. The Japanese, who had a personal best of 2:29:37, finished with 2:26:32.

“I hope I will further improve in future“, Hashimoto said. Second

place went to Emily Kimuria (Kenya/2:28:18). Third was Ornella Ferrara

(Italy/2:28:28), who came back after giving birth. It was the fourth win in a

row in Berlin for Japan after two wins of Naoko Takahashi in 2001 and 2002 and

Kazumi Matsuo in 2000.