BMW Frankfurt Marathon, Frankfurt, Germany

Wilson Kipsang storms to second fastest in marathon history in a 2h03:42 clocking in Frankfurt

Wilson Kipsang turned every bit as good as he promised when he set out to chase Patrick Makau‘s newly-set world record of 2h03:38 in Berlin and for roughly three fourths of the distance he was well on schedule to land his goal, cruising halfway through in 61:40 and four seconds faster than his compatriot under perfect racing conditions.

Peter Kirui, who is making a fine reputation as a marathon pacemaker, was taking him along the way with amazing timing precision while Ethiopian Deriba Merga and the Kenyan duo of Levy Matebo and Albert Matebor comprised the rest of the company through the third quarter of the distance.

However, either by lapse of concentration or fatigue creeping up on Kirui, the pace drifted considerably off target towards around the 2h04 region within three kilometres, between 30th and 33rd, and suddenly Kipsang found himself faced with a mighty task to haul in a substantial deficit effected.

To his credit, he didn’t pack up his original goal and sensing the record slipping out of his grasp he took over matters from there to move up a gear and start slicing away the lost time, opening up quickly plenty of distance on the rest up front. But he may have taken a little too late to make that move as it turned out.

For he may have put in a gallant effort that all but made up the lost ground in the dying stages but still fell short of his target by a mere four seconds reaching a stunning 2h03:42, the second fastest mark in history and a huge PB on his previous course record of 2h04:57.

Magnificent though it is a feat, there might have been a bitter-sweet taste in Kipsang’s mouth and possibly a question “What if” hanging on his mind looking at his time, which astonishingly cannot even make a national record. It’s not everyday that you come so close to a world record, let alone in an event where your next attempt has to wait at least a few months.

Nonetheless, a time he has taken full pride of and that raises him as a main contender in the battle royal for one of the three much coveted marathon spots on the Kenyan Olympic team for London, which is unfolding nothing less of relentless and breathtaking.

Following Frankfurt’s staggering results, the Kenyans now occupy all top 19 places in the world rankings to demonstrate a dominance of no equal in any Olympic event in history in a single season. Not to mention that Nicholas Manza is lying equal 20th at 2h06:34! Sadly, only three can make the journey so who those three to see the light are going to be?

A dominance that was demonstrated in overwhelming manner as a lengthy array of world class performances from Kenyans were laid out behind; just 22-year-old Levy Matebo finished well to smash his own PB into a new mark of 2h05:16 and fourth spot in the global lists, Albert Matebor followed closely in also a massive PB of 2h05:25 and fifth in the world and Phillip Sanga was fourth in a PB of 2h06:04.

Further behind, 23-year-old Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot ended up fifth in 2h06:29 – just a SB and six seconds shy of his PB on the same course in 2009! – and Kirui made yet another pacemaker lately to hold on through the whole distance and get finally rewarded with a PB of 2h06:31 for sixth!

The first non-Kenyan home was ‘poor’ Siraj Gena (ETH) in eighth despite a 2h08:31 (PB), a picture no much different than the all-time top ten has shaped up where great Haile Gebrselassie is the only runner beyond the Kenyan borders to figure now, lying third with the until two months ago world record of 2h03:59.

Men’s Results

1.Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich (KEN) 2h03:42 (PB, 2nd fastest all-time, course record), 2.Levy Matebo Omari (KEN) 2h05:16 (PB), 3.Albert Kiplagat Matebor (KEN) 2h05:25 (PB), 4.Phillip Kimutai Sanga (KEN) 2h06:07 (PB), 5.Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot (KEN) 2h06:29 (SB), 6.Peter Cheruiyot Kirui (KEN) 2h06:31 (PB), 7.Chumba Dickson Kiptolo (KEN) 2h07:23 (PB), 8.Siraj Genah (ETH) 2h08:31 (PB), 9.Duncan Koech (KEN) 2h08:38, 10.Henry Sugut (KEN) 2h08:56

In women, Ethiopia’s Mamitu Daska rose through the ranks to score a rather surprise victory in a huge PB of 2h21:59, fifth fastest in the world and atop of the Ethiopian lists this term, shattering the course record by nearly one and a half minute.

Agnes Kirpop (KEN) followed on a distant runner-up in a PB of 2h23:54 and highly-rated compatriot Flomena Chepchirchir was third on an impressive debut of 2h24:21 while Rita Jeptoo Busienei dragged home fifth in 2h25:44.

Liz Yelling eventually came up short of the top end of qualication territory and had to settle only for a narrow Olympic B qualifier of 2h34:58 instead, a SB and her fastest in the distance since 2008. That means that she is finding herself very much on the ropes, with four runners holding already the high standard and Mara Yamauchi yet to go, so she will need to pull off an astonishing late rally to turn the situation round in the remaining months till the selection deadline.

Paula Radliffe ought to be considered a certainty for selection when the panel in charge meets for the first time on December 5 and others like Jo Pavey, who is racing in New York next Sunday, have the chance to improve on their times and pull further away in the race for places in London.

Women’s Results

1.Mamitu Daska (ETH) 2h21:59 (PB), 2.Agnes Kiprop (KEN) 2h23:54 (PB), 3.Fiomena Chepchirchir (KEN) 2h24:21 (PB), 4.Merima Mohammed (ETH) 2h24:32 (SB), 5.Rita Jeptoo Sisienei (KEN) 2h25:44 (PB), 6.Nadia Ejaffini (ITA) 2h26:15 (PB), 7.Fate Tola (ETH) 2h27:18, 8.Birugtait Degefa (ETH) 2h27:34, 9.Sabrina Mockenhaupt (GER) 2h28:08, 10.Alena Samokhvalova (RUS) 2h28:43,…, 18.Liz Yelling 2h34:58 (SB, Olympic B)