In athletics no other country is more consistent or more synonymous with victory than the East African country of Kenya. The country currently holds all long-distance road-running world records, both in the full and half marathons.
History was made in quick succession this past week when after Eliud Kipchoge became the first person to run the marathon in less than two hours, clocking in at 1:59:40, Brigid Kosgei proceeded to shatter Paula Radcliffe’s 17-year-old women’s marathon world record.
The mark of 2:15:25 set by Radcliffe in the London Marathon on April 13, 2003 was broken by Kosgei’s impressive 2:14:04 as she won the Chicago marathon for the second time in a row.
The 25-year-old has also firmly separated herself from the women’s field by running with two male pace-setters. A note worthy fete that Mary Jepkosgei Keitany at the 2017 London Marathon did not have when her world record of 2:17:01 was posted leading the IAAF to term it a “women only” achievement.
Kosgei crossed the finish line way ahead of the pack, with Ethiopians Ababel Yeshaneh and Gelete Burka finishing second and third with 2:20:51 and 2:20:55 respectively.
“I’m happy and I feel good,” Kosgei said. “People were cheering all along the course, which gave me more energy… I felt my body was moving, moving, moving so I went for it”.
“I kept saying, ‘Tomorrow is my day,'” she added. “I wanted to be the second Kipchoge – the Kipchoge for women. I focused on that”.
“I was not expecting this,” Kosgei said of the world record. “I was expecting to run 2:16 or 2:17. It’s amazing to run 2:14, but the world record was in my head. When I started the race, I was thinking I need 2:15 for Paula’s record”.
Previous record holder Paula Radcliffe acknowledged the win saying, “I think we’ve always known that time was going to come. When I saw how fast Brigid was running in the first part of the race, if she was able to hold that together, she was always going to beat the time”.
“I’ve always said 17 is my lucky number and it was exactly 17 years ago to the day that I set my first world record here in Chicago”.
Kenya sealed a double victory with Lawrence Cherono claiming the men’s title clocking an impressive time of 2:05:45.
Kosgei’s London win has made her the fourth fastest Kenyan after Mary Keitany, who holds the all-women world marathon of 2:17:01 from 2017 London, Ruth Chepng’etich 2:17:08 time from Dubai this year and Gladys Cherono 2:18:11 time from Berlin last year.
Earlier this year at the Great North Run, she also clocked the fastest half-marathon in history with a time of 1:04:28.
Other Kenyan record holders include Joyciline Jepkosgei who holds the women’s world half marathon record of 1:04:51 which she attained on October 22, 2017 in Valencia.
Tegla Loroupe who broke the world marathon record twice: first in Rotterdam in 1998 at 2:20:47 and in the 1999 Berlin Marathon at 2:20:43.
Following in her footsteps Catherine Ndereba would clock 2:18:47 in 2001 in Chicago for a new world record before Mary Keitany set a new all-women world record of 2:17:01 in London on April 23, 2017, breaking Radcliffe’s time of 2:17:42 on April 17, 2005 in the same city. Kosgei also broke Radcliffe’s mixed-race record of 2:15:25 set on April 13, 2003 in London.
For the men ‘No Human is Limited’ champion Eliud Kipchoge holds the men’s world marathon record of 2:01:39 set at the Berlin Marathon on September 16, 2018 while his training mate Geoffrey Kamworor holds the world half marathon record of 58:01 set in Copenhagen on September 15th of this year.