Kenyans duo of Samuel Kosgei and Mary Keitany crowned the jubilee edition of the BIG 25 Berlin yesterday with unique double world record performances at the German 25k road race.
Never before have both world records been broken in one road race, but both records were smashed in the BIG 25 Berlin race.
While Sammy Kosgei stormed into the finish inside the Berlin Olympic Stadium with a time of 1:11:50, Mary Keitany clocked a sensational 1:19:53 to become the first female runner to dip under 1:20 in a 25k race.
Elite runners took advantage of perfect conditions for running on Sunday morning. While temperatures were between 12 and 14° Celsius there was practically no wind at all and the sky was overcast.
A big leading group of more than 20 African runners surged through the 5k point in 14:29 minutes. While the first five kilometres after the start at the Olympic Stadium are slightly downhill pacemakers made sure that the pace kept high on the flat parts in the city centre.
The 10k point was reached in 29:01, followed by a very fast 5k section of 14:04 (15k split: 43:05).
In this part of the race the group fell apart and finally a duel between Samuel Kosgei and Gilbert Kirwa (Kenya), the winner of the Frankfurt Marathon in 2009, developed.
At first the defending champion Matthew Koech (Kenya) ran together with the two, but he soon dropped back. The pace kept high although the section between 18k and 21k is slightly uphill.
Samuel Kosgei - he was Haile Gebrselassie's pacemaker in last year's Berlin Marathon and was next to the Ethiopian when the 30k world record of 1:27:49 was established in that race - and Gilbert Kirwa had reached the 20k mark in 57:22 and then they achieved a remarkable half marathon split time of 60:42.
In the final two kilometres 24 year-old Samuel Kosgei opened a decisive gap. He finally improved the world record set by Paul Kosgei (Kenya) in this race in 2004 (1:12:45) by almost one minute.
Gilbert Kirwa took second and he also achieved a sub 1:12 time with 1:11:58. Terefe Maregu (Ethiopia) was third in 1:13:16.
Altogether seven runners finished inside 1:14. Among them was the former world record holder Paul Kosgei. He had been in the leading group until close to the 15k mark and finally finished in sixth position with 1:13:48.
"It was my aim to run 1:12 here today. But I did not think that I could win this and I also did not expect to run sub 1:12," said Samuel Kosgei.
"My next goal is running my first marathon. I would like to come back to Berlin for that in September. If Haile Gebrselassie should return I would look forward to this. And it would be my goal to beat him."
Right from the start Mary Keitany ran her own race at the front, supported by two pacemakers. With an even pace the 28 year-old World Half Marathon Champion was on course for a time of around 1:20 throughout the race.
She reached the 10k mark in 31:58 minutes - a time which would be good enough to win almost all of Germany's 10k races - and then clocked 47:58 at the 15k point.
Even when the course was going up on the way back to the Olympic Stadium Mary Keitany kept her rhythm and speed perfectly.
Finally clocking 1:19:53 she smashed the world record set by Japan's Mizuki Noguchi during the Berlin Marathon 2005 (1:22:13).
Mary Keitany was almost five minutes ahead of Alice Timbilili (1:24:38), who was second. Pasalia Kipkoech (both Kenya/1:26:47), who had recently won the Berlin Half Marathon, took third.
"I have prepared long and intensively for this race and I had expected to break the world record. But I did not expect to break it by such a margin and to run sub 1:20," said Mary Keitany, who intends to run her marathon debut in autumn.
Organisers of BERLIN RUNS registered 10,114 runners from 47 nations at the 30th edition of the race.
"Two world records in one race and additionally a time barrier broken by Mary Keitany - you really can not have a better jubilee race," said a thrilled Christoph Kopp, who is the elite athletes' manager for the BIG 25 Berlin.
1. Samuel Kosgei KEN 1:11:50
2. Gilbert Kirwa KEN 1:11:58
3. Terefe Maregu ETH 1:13:16
4. Erick Rotich KEN 1:13:24
5. Matthew Koech KEN 1:13:45
6. Paul Kosgei KEN 1:13:48
7. Felix Keny KEN 1:13:53
8. Allan Kiprono KEN 1:14:15
9. Joel Kimurer KEN 1:14:34
10. Lusapho April RSA 1:15:02
1. Mary Keitany KEN 1:19:53
2. Alice Timbilili KEN 1:24:38
3. Pasalia Kipkoech KEN 1:26:47
4. Eunice Kales KEN 1:29:05
5. Christine Chepkemei KEN 1:29:30