Berlin (AFP) – Kenyan runner Dennis Kimetto set a new world record in the Berlin Marathon on Sunday, with an unofficial time of 2hr 02min 57sec.
He became the first man to run under 2hr 03min and his time was well inside the previous record of 2:03.23, set over the same course last year by his compatriot Wilson Kipsang.
Kimetto, 30, is from the Eldoret in Kenya’s Rift Valley region — a part of the country that has produced some of the most dominant distance runners in history.
He was working as a farmer in an impoverished rural area before he took up running in his mid-20s, joining the training group of Geoffrey Mutai — a Boston, Berlin and two-time New York marathon champion and the former holder of the unofficial world best, a 2:03.02 set in Boston.
His first major win came in Nairobi’s Half Marathon in 2011, and he went on to finish second behind his training partner Mutai in the Berlin Marathon in 2012.
His 2:04.16 was the fastest marathon debut in history, and notable as he is one of a new breed of Kenyan road racers who do not have a track pedigree.
In 2013 he won the Tokyo Marathon, setting a course record of 2:06.50, and then the 2013 Chicago Marathon in a course record of 2:03.45 — where he also beat Emmanuel Mutai into second place.