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Wilson Kipsang Just Broke the Marathon World Record

Wilson Kipsang just set the marathon world record, clocking in at 2 hours, 3 minutes and 23 seconds. For context, that's 26.2 miles at an average speed of 4 minutes, 42 seconds per mile

Wilson Kipsang running the 2010 Frankfurt Marathon. Image: Carsten Lindstedt

Wilson Kipsang just set the marathon world record, clocking in at 2 hours, 3 minutes and 23 seconds. For context, that’s 26.2 miles at an average speed of 4 minutes, 42 seconds per mile. The Kenyan beat his countryman Patrick Makau’s previous record by 15 seconds in the race held in Berlin set just a month earlier in the same place. In fact, the Berlin course seems to be the place to break the record: this is the eighth world record broken in the city in the last 15 years.

For his efforts, Kipsang earned $122,000—$54,000 for winning and $68,000 for breaking the record. But the race wasn’t totally untarnished. As Kispang raced towards the finish line, a man began to run beside him. It turns out, the man wasn’t a fan, but instead an “ambush marketer” according to the New York Times:

Although security in Berlin had been increased after the bombings at the Boston Marathon in April, a man wearing a yellow T-shirt stepped out of the crowd near the finish line and raised his arms, breaking the tape just ahead of Kipsang in an apparent stunt of ambush marketing.

Kipsang however, was simply pleased to have won. “This is a dream come true; 10 years ago, I watched Paul Tergat break the World record in Berlin, and now I have achieved the dream. I felt strong, so I attacked at 35k, because the pace had become a little too slow,” he said.

Perhaps even more impressively, the man who came in second had only run one marathon before. Eliud Kipchoge, also a Kenyan, finished in 2:04:05.

More from Smithsonian.com:

2010 Chicago Marathoner Stops for a Refreshing Soak
The 1904 Olympic Marathon May Have Been the Strangest Ever

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About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

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