Athletics News

World records at the Berlin Marathon

World records at the Berlin Marathon

Ahead of the 49th edition of the event, AW looks back at the 12 world marathon records set in the German capital

The Berlin Marathon approaches it’s 50th anniversary next year and has established itself as one of the fastest marathon courses in the world.

It’s no surprise that the Berlin Marathon has hosted more world records (12) over 26.2 miles than any single marathon course in history. The total elevation gain is just 241 feet (73m) while the elevation loss is 260 feet (79m).

Out of those 12 world records set in the German capital, three are held by women and 12 by men.

Christa Vahlensieck was the first woman to set a world record in Berlin (2:34:48 in 1977) while Eliud Kipchoge holds the current men’s mark (2:01:09 in 2022).

Eliud Kipchoge (Getty)

Kipchoge is aiming to win the Berlin Marathon for a record fifth time and would overtake Haile Gebrselassie in the all-time standings.

The 38-year-old Kenyan also has ambitions to become the first person in history to claim three Olympic marathon gold medals in Paris next summer. He is tied on two golds with Waldemar Cierpinski (Montreal 1976 and Moscow 1980) and Abebe Bikila (Rome 1960 and Tokyo 1964).

In a recent interview with AW, Kipchoge stated that “Berlin felt like home”.

Below, we’ll look back at his two world records in Berlin plus the 10 others set since the marathon’s inception in 1974.

Christa Vahlensieck (2:34:48) – 1977 

Christa Vahlensieck won an astonishing 21 marathons during her career.

In 1973, she became the first ever German to complete the marathon in under three hours (2:59:26) but it was two years later when Vahlensieck left her footprint on the global stage.

That season she broke Julie Brown’s world 10,000m record with 34:01.4 – a mark that stood until 1977. Vahlensieck also shattered compatriot Liane Winter’s world marathon record, clocking 2:40:16 in Dülmen.

The world record changed hands twice between American Jacqueline Hansen (2:38:19) and France’s Chantal Langlacé (2:35:15) before Vahlensieck regained it in Berlin in 1977.

The German became the first female athlete to go sub 2:35 in history after clocking 2:34:48 on home turf.

It was the first world record set at the Berlin Marathon at a time when the distance was being pushed to be included in the Olympics. That occurred seven years later at LA 1984.

Ronaldo da Costa (2:06:05) – 1998 

When Ethiopia’s Belayneh Dinsamo set a world record of 2:06:50 in Rotterdam in 1988, no man could beat…

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