BERLIN (AP) — Dennis Kimetto knocked 26 seconds off the world marathon record Sunday as the sub-two hour mark moved a step closer.
The 30-year-old Kenyan won the 41st edition of the Berlin Marathon in 2 hours, 2 minutes, 57 seconds, becoming the first man to complete a marathon in under 2 hours, 3 minutes.
The previous record of 2:03:23 was set by another Kenyan, Wilson Kipsang, in Berlin last year.
“I feel good today for today is a big day for me,” Kimetto said. “The fans made me confident and I thought I could do it.”
Second-placed Emmanuel Mutai also beat the previous record, finishing in 2:03:13, and he believes a two-hour marathon is possible.
“From what I saw today, times are coming down and down. So if not today, then tomorrow,” the 29-year-old Kenyan said. “Maybe next time we’ll get 2:01.”
Mutai had run the fastest marathon in history in 2:03:02 in Boston in 2011, though it didn’t count as a world record because the course is considered too straight and downhill.
During Sunday’s race Mutai set a world record in running 30K in 1:27:37, just beating Patrick Makau’s previous best of 1:27.38 from 2011.
Abera Kuma of Ethiopia was third in 2:05:56, ahead of Kenyans Geoffrey Kamworor and Eliud Kiptanui.
Tirfi Tsegaye won the women’s race in 2:20:18, with fellow Ethiopian Feyse Tadese second in 2.20.27.
American Shalane Flanagan was third in 2:21:14, missing out on her bid to beat the U.S. record of 2:19:36, yet achieving a personal best.