Ethiopia’s Tigst Assefa smashed the women’s marathon world record with a time of two hours, 11 minutes, and 53 seconds as she won Sunday’s race in Berlin.
The 26-year-old, who also won last year’s race, took more than two minutes off the previous record of 2:14.04 – set by Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei in Chicago in 2019.
38-year-old Kenyan Double Olympic champion, Eliud Kipchoge, won the men’s race for a record fifth time in Berlin with a time of 2:02.42, after setting the men’s record of 2:01.09 in Berlin last year, when he moved level with Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie on four wins.
Assefa’s winning time is the 13th world record to be set in Berlin, where she won last year in 2:15.37 – which at the time was the third fastest women’s run in history.
Assefa said, “I am very happy, I wanted to break the marathon world record, but I couldn’t imagine that it would result in a time under 2:12.”
Assefa, who was a former 800m specialist, only started racing marathons in April last year. She made her intentions clear on her return to Berlin, setting a lightning-quick early pace before reaching the halfway mark in one hour six minutes 20 seconds.
One of six women to be on world record pace at that stage, Assefa maintained that speed to streak clear and at the 37km mark (23 miles) she was just three seconds per kilometre slower than Kipchoge’s time at the same stage on Sunday.