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Get To Know: The World’s Fastest Marathoners

Posted on May 15, 2017 by Francesca Russo

It is believed that marathon is the most difficult of all races as it is the ultimate test of fortitude, where sportsmen can rely on own muscles and fighting spirit only. A professional marathoner runs at an average speed of 20 kilometers per hour, which is twice more than the speed of reindeer migration, and it’s being done without any special equipment or tools.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is the international governing body for the sport of athletics, which ratifies world records in the marathon. So, who are they, the fastest people in the world?

The World’s Fastest Marathoners: Men

1. Dennis Kimetto from Kenya was recognized as the best marathon runner: he broke the previous world record in Berlin, on September 28, 2014, with his winning 2 hours, 2 minutes, and 57 seconds. Dennis grew up in a family of athletes, one day he had to quit doing sports and start helping his parents on the farm instead because of financial issues. But when watching the broadcasts of the Sydney Olympics races, the future athlete realized that he must devote his life to running. Interesting fact: Dennis Kimetto could probably beat a horse in a 26.2-miler.


2. Kenenisa Bekele is a 34-year-old world champion from Ethiopia. He won the Berlin Marathon in 2016 (2 hours, 3 minutes, and 3 seconds), moving Emmanuel Mutai (Kenya) down to the fourth place from the second one, where he had been with his 2:03:13 since the Berlin Marathon in 2014. Kenenisa is also a repeated world champion (2003-2009), three-time Olympic champion (in Athens and Beijing), twice world record holder at a distance of 5 and 10 km. The athlete says that everything began in childhood when he had to run to school, which was 10 km far from his house!

3. Eliud Kipchoge is the athlete from Kenya, who took the third place in the rate, which previously belonged to his countryman Patrick Makau (2:03:38 in Berlin, 2011). Eliud took part and won the Rotterdam and Chicago Marathons in 2014, beat his personal record at the Berlin Marathon (5 seconds faster) and first appeared at the London Marathon in 2015, won a gold medal at Rio 2016 Olympics. But only at the London Marathon 2016, he became the 1st with a track record and a new personal record of 2 hours, 3 minutes, and 5 seconds.


By the way, Eliud Kipchoge has recently set an unofficial world record of 2:00:25, participating in the Breaking2 Nike company’s project, where he tried to run a marathon of 2 hours.

Other Male Champions:

  • Wilson Kipsang (2:03:13) – Berlin Marathon 2016

  • Stanley Biwott (2:03:51) – London Marathon 2016

  • Haile Gebrselassie (2:03:59) – Berlin Marathon 2008

  • Tamirat Tola (2:04:11) – Dubai Marathon 2017

  • Geoffrey Mutai (2:04:15) – Berlin Marathon 2012

The World’s Fastest Marathoners: Women

1. Paula Radcliffe from Great Britain owns a world record in the women’s marathon race: 2 hours, 15 minutes, and 25 seconds (London, 2003), she was also named the best athlete of the world according to IAAF in 2002. Surprisingly, Paul was a weak child and suffered from asthma. Her father, a famous English marathon runner, was the one who decided to gradually involve the girl in sports in order to improve her health. But Paula was so carried away that she achieved great heights later.


2. Mary Keitany, the Kenyan runner, has become the winner of the traditional London Marathon for the third time, setting a new world record for women’s competitions. This year she ran the marathon distance during 2 hours, 17 minutes, and 1 second. In fact, Keitany took the second place in the history of the women’s marathons. Previously Mary won the London Marathon in 2011 and 2012.


3. Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia) also showed a good result at the 2017 London Marathon (2:17:56), having replaced Catherine Ndereba’s record of 2:18:47, which she set at the Chicago Marathon in 2001.

Other Female Champions:

·         Tiki Gelana (2:18:58) – Rotterdam Marathon 2012

·         Mizuki Noguchi (2:19:12) – Berlin Marathon 2005

·         Irina Mikitenko (2:19:19) – Berlin Marathon 2008

·         Gladys Cherono (2:19:25) – Berlin Marathon 2015

·         Aselefech Mergia (2:19:31) – Dubai Marathon 2012

·         Lucy Kabuu (2:19:34) – Dubai Marathon 2012

Written by Francesca Russo

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