Berlin Marathon 2023: Assefa’s Record and Kipchoge’s Mastery

Group of happy marathon runners in front of Brandenburg Gate in Berlin

The Berlin Marathon 2023 saw amazing runs, including a world record-breaking women’s race.

The Berlin Marathon in Germany is known for its flat and fast course, minimal tight turns, and the potential for ideal weather conditions.

Women’s Marathon: Tigist Assefa Wins With New World Record

Ethiopian athlete Tigist Assefa, 29, made history with a stunning performance in the women’s marathon.

She ran a new women’s marathon world record of 2:11:53 at the Berlin Marathon on September 24, 2023.

Assefa’s performance was extraordinary; she finished through the Brandenburg Gate over two minutes ahead of the previous world record. The previous record was held by Kenyan Brigid Kosgei, who ran 2:14:04 in 2019.

Assefa’s journey to this record-breaking moment was a relatively short one. She transitioned from specializing in the 800-meter race to long-distance races in 2018, and her dedication and hard work paid off.

She ran her debut marathon in Saudi Arabia in 2022 with a time of 2:34:01. She won the 2022 Berlin Marathon at 2:15:38. It was the third-fastest women’s marathon at the time.

Between her first and second competitive marathons, Assefa trimmed more than 18 minutes off her time. Her third attempt in Berlin in 2023 saw her reduce her personal best by over three minutes.

Shoe manufacturers have been competing in recent years to see who makes the fastest supershoes. This time, the victory went to Adidas.

Assefa was wearing exceptionally light Adizero Adios Pro Evo 1s shoes.

According to Adidas, the shoes have been improved with unique technology that challenges the limits of racing. At least they have now run the world record!

But the shoes have an eye-popping price tag of around $500. For the average runner, such expensive shoes are not a reasonable choice, especially when these shoes are not made to last much more than one marathon.

At the halfway point, Assefa was on her way to a final time of 2.12.40 so she could tighten up in the latter half.

Assefa’s dominance was evident as she left her closest competitor, Kenya’s Sheila Chepkurui, trailing by a staggering 5 minutes and 56 seconds.

Assefa expressed her joy at achieving the world record: “I knew I wanted to go for the world record, but I never thought I’d achieve it this time.”

Top 5 Fastest Women’s Marathon Times:

  1. Tigist Assefa, Ethiopia, 2:11:53, Berlin 2023
  2. Brigid Kosgei, Kenya, 2:14:04, Chicago 2019
  3. Ruth Chepngetich, Kenya, 2:14:18, Chicago 2022
  4. Amane Beriso, Ethiopia, 2:14:58, Valencia 2022
  5. Paula Radcliffe, United Kingdom, 2:15:25, London 2003

Men’s Marathon: Kipchoge’s Quest for Glory

On the men’s side, all eyes were on Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, a legendary figure in the world of marathon running.

Kipchoge won Olympic gold at the 2016 Rio and 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

He ran his first marathon world record (2.01.39) in Berlin 2018. In 2022, in Berlin, Kipchoge improved his world record (2.01.09).

In Berlin 2023, Kipchoge aimed for the world record again but fell short by about a minute and a half.

While it wasn’t a world record-breaking performance, it secured his fifth victory in Berlin.

Kipchoge has also run a marathon in less than two hours (1:59:40), but this was not officially recognized as a world record.

The event in Vienna in 2019 was a record test for Kipchoge, not an official competition. He had numerous co-runners who took turns to provide optimal pace and conditions.

As Kipchoge reflected on his victory in Berlin, he mentioned using the lessons learned to prepare for future competitions, including the Olympics in Paris 2024.

The current battle in high-performance running shoes is primarily between Nike and Adidas. Nike pioneered developing these innovative super shoes, also known as carbon shoes.

Eliud Kipchoge has been a Nike runner for quite some time. He ran a world record in the German capital in 2022 and a sub-two-hour in Vienna in 2019 with Nike Alphafly shoes.

Top 5 Fastest Men’s Marathon Times:

  1. Eliud Kipchoge, Kenya, 2:01:09, Berlin 2022
  2. Kelvin Kiptum, Kenya, 2:01:25, London 2023
  3. Eliud Kipchoge, 2:01:39, Berlin 2018
  4. Kenenisa Bekele, Ethiopia, 2:01:41, Berlin 2019
  5. Kiptum, 2:01:53, Valencia 2022

Overall, the Berlin Marathon in 2023 showcased the athleticism of Tigist Assefa, who established a new women’s world record, and the enduring excellence of Eliud Kipchoge, even if he didn’t quite reach his world record mark.

Two weeks after the Berlin Marathon, Kelvin Kiptum set the new men’s marathon world record in the 2023 Chicago Marathon.

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