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Berlin Marathon 2014: Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon world record

Kimetto breaks marathon world record, Flanagan falters at Sunday's race in Germany.

Boris Streubel

To describe the 41st BMW Berlin Marathon as "eventful" would be to blatantly, if not ignorantly, understate the obvious.

Dennis Kimetto took the podium's top spot and broke the marathon world record set by Wilson Kipsang in 2013 with a ridiculous time of 2:02:57. Fellow Kenyan Emmanuel Matai finished 16 seconds behind Kimetto with a time of 2:03:13, which also surpassed Kipsang.

According to Runner's World,

Kimetto’s run carved a whopping 26 seconds off Wilson Kipsang’s previous world record – a second for every mile of the race, which was held in near-perfect cool and sunny conditions on the pancake-flat streets of the German capital.

A former subsistence farmer from Kapng'tuny, Kenya, Kimmeto began formal marathon training four years ago after a chance encounter with elite runner and Boston Marathon record-holder Geoffrey Mutai. In other words, an amateur with no professional experience laced on a pair of shoes, impressed an elite during a jog and obliterated the world record at a premiere marathon course at the age of 30.

Meanwhile, Shalane Flanagan came up short in her bid to beat the American record set by Deena Kastor at the 2006 Flora London Marathon. The time to make or break was 2:19:36, but Flanagan finished third with a time of 2:21:14, behind Tirfi Tsegaye and Feyse Tadese of Ethiopia.

Flanagan, who told Stride Nation back in August she was "excited about the possibilities," still managed a new personal best with her finish at Berlin. She set her previous record at this year's Boston Marathon.

After the race, Flanagan told reporters, "We went big. I don’t race conservatively. We’d come to test our limits and we found out today where it was."

Despite its history of world record-makers and breakers, the BMW Berlin Marathon's amazingly flat and even course often proves tricky for runners. This is especially true for those who assume its lack of topography equates to faster splits. Flanagan explained this in August:

I think the tricky part about flat courses is that there's no reprieve. Your muscles are firing like a piston continuously. There's no up or downhill to rest the gears of your muscles.

Despite the letdown, Flanagan felt optimistic about her possibilities. "This will aid me in future marathons," she told Runner's World. "I'll take another shot at some point. Sometimes, it takes a couple of swings."

I asked Flanagan in August if she had any guilty pleasures or food rituals for after the race. "Right after the marathon, usually that day," she laughed, "a burger and a beer." Here's to hoping it was the juiciest, most delicious pairing of carbohydrates and calories she's ever had.