From around the 10 mile mark, Eliud Kipchoge was faced with the unfortunate hindrance of loose insoles on both of his Nike trainers as he tackled Sunday’s Berlin Marathon. Yet Kipchoge defied his footwear issues and, like Gladys Cherono, pre-race favourite in the female competition, set the quickest marathon times of 2015.
As ever, the German city pulled in an incredible field with almost 28,000 competitors taking part. The famously fast course saw runners depart from the centre of Berlin, between the Brandenburg Gate and Victory Column, out to the west of the city, before heading east past the Reichstag and television tower.
The route then moved down to the south west of the city, passing the iconic Kaiser-Willhelm Church and Postdamer Platz. Runners were met with an incredible finale along one of Berlin's most famous streets, Unter den Linden, with the finish line just through the Brandenburg Gate.
As ever with Berlin, expectations were high for a world record performance with the city having witnessed such a feat in the previous two years. And, although Kipchoge had indicated that a push for a world record wasn’t unfeasible, such a performance looked increasingly remote as the leading pack passed through the 13.1 mile mark at 61:53.
At around 30k, Kipchoge produced a decisive and strong move to build a lead ahead of his closest competitors. The Kenyan eventually finished in 2:04:00, with Eliud Kiptanui second (2:05:21) and Feyisa Lilesa in third (2:06:57). Britain’s Scott Overall took an impressive tenth in 2:11:24.
On his disintegrating footwear, Kipchoge commented: “It wasn’t a good day for me in these shoes, although they’re actually very good. I tested them in Kenya but just had bad luck on the day. I had problems from the first kilometre.”
In what was only her second ever marathon, Cherono prevailed in a fairly close contest with Ethiopian runner Aberu Kebede. The Kenyan crossed the line in 2:19:25 (the third fastest time ever set by a female athlete in Berlin), with Kebede second (2:20:48). Sonia Samuels headed the British contingent in 9th place with a time of 2:28:04.