Who holds the world record for the men’s marathon?
Interestingly, a world record for the men’s marathon was not ratified by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) until September 3, 1983, when Kenyan Paul Tergat won the Berlin Marathon in a time of 2:04:55; in so doing, he beat the previous ‘world’s best’ ratified by the IAAF, 2:05:38, recorded by Moroccan-born American Khalid Khannouchi when winning the London Marathon on April 14, 2002.
Since 2003, the world record for the men’s marathon has been broken seven times, each time in the Berlin Marathon and each time by an athlete from East Africa. Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie broke the world record two years running on the streets of the German capital, winning in times of 2:04:26 and 2:03:59 in 2007 and 2008, respectively. His mark was lowered, to 2:03:38, by Kenyan
Patrick Musyoki in 2011 and, thereafter, the world record has belonged, exclusively, to the ‘cradle of humanity’, whose capital, Nairobi, lies at an altitude of 5,500 feet.
The current holder of the world record, Eliud Kipchoge, has won the Berlin Marathon four times in all, first setting a world record, of 2:01:39, on September 16, 2016. However, on September 25, 2022, less than six weeks shy of his thirty-eighth birthday, he did so again, covering the 42.195 kilometre course in 2:01:09. Of course, the IAAF has strict rules, relating to distance, topography, etc., to determine which performances can, or cannot, be ratified as world records. Thus, while Kipchoge ran the full marathon distance in 1:59:40 in Vienna, Austria on October 12, 2019, as recognised by Guinness World Records, his effort was ineligible for world record consideration by the IAAF.