On Sunday September 25th, the world record time for the men’s marathon was held in Berlin, Germany. Until recently, Ethiopian Haile Gebrelassie held the official world record time of 203:59, which he also ran in Berlin just 3 years ago.
On September 26th 2011, twenty six year old Patrick Makau of Kenya, ran a 203:38, beating the world record by 21 seconds.
“Everybody in Kenya will be happy for me. This is huge, especially beating the Ethiopians,” Makau said. Makua somewhat came out of the blue as a world class athlete. His running career started only ten years ago in Kenya, but he shows great potential for better performance because he is so young.
To many people, the marathon is somewhat of an unusual event. It is a 26.2 mile race which dates back to the first Olympic Games in Athens long ago. In modern times, the marathon has become somewhat of social phenomenon. It’s become an aspiration for many people.
The race is most commonly run on roads and is actually a fiercely competitive and grueling event for which participants must train. Anyone can participate in most marathons, but there is also a whole other class of marathoners referred to as the elites. These elites, such as Makau, are professional athletes competing for a living. Most elite marathoners are east African, but there are a couple Europeans and Americans in the mix. The most highly esteemed American among the elite is Ryan Hall. Hall holds the American record for the fastest marathon with a time of 2:04:58.
There has long-standing question in the running and scientific community as to whether or not it is possible for a human to run a sub two hour marathon. With performances like Makau’s, we are getting closer and closer to finding the answer. But as of now Patrick Makau holds the world record for the men’s marathon.