Marathon News

Tigist Assefa sets astonishing 2:11:53 marathon world record at BMW Berlin Marathon 2023

Ethiopia's Tigist Assefa ran a shocking 2:11:53 world record in the women's race at the BMW Berlin Marathon 2023. Eliud Kipchoge also ran fast to take the men's race.

David Monti

Tigist Assefa setting a pending world record at the 2023 BMW Berlin Marathon
Tigist Assefa setting a pending world record at the 2023 BMW Berlin Marathon of 2:11:53 (photo by Jean-Marc Wiesner for SCC Events; used with permission)

By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2023 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

(24-Sep) — It is a rare moment when Eliud Kipchoge wins a marathon in a fast time, but it’s not the top storyline. Such was the case at the BMW Berlin Marathon this morning where, although Kipchoge won the race for a record fifth time in 2:02:42, the Kenyan superstar was upstaged by Ethiopia’s Tigist Assefa, who ran a shocking 2:11:53 world record in the women’s division.

Stunning World Record Run By Tigist Assefa

The former Olympic 800m runner, who was the race’s defending champion, smashed Brigid Kosgei’s World Athletics-ratified record of 2:14:04 by an astounding two minutes and 11 seconds.

Moreover, Assefa executed a brilliant negative split.  She covered the first half in an already-fast 1:06:20, then came back in the second half in a blazing 1:05:33.

Read more: Berlin Marathon 2023 results; WR for Assefa, 5th title for Kipchoge

“In the first half I saved some energy for the second part,” she told race organizers.  “I trained for this race for six months. Now I think I will be nominated for the Olympic Games.”

Her 10-K splits help demonstrate the speed that was on display today.  Her four 10-kilometer segments, before the final 2.195 kilometers to the finish line, were 31:45, 31:08, 31:19, and 31:02, all marks which would win most 10-K’s.

“MIND BLOWING, INSANE,” tweeted long-time Kenyan athletics journalist Michelle Katami  “CRAZILY INSANE.”

To run her record today Assefa wore a super-light (and super-expensive) pair of adidas Adizero Adios Pro Evo 1 racing shoes.  The World Athletics-compliant shoes weigh-in at just 138 grams (4.9 ounces) each. 

Eliud Kipchoge wins his fifth BMW Berlin Marathon 2023
Eliud Kipchoge wins his fifth BMW Berlin Marathon in 2:02:42 (photo by Jean-Marc Wiesner for SCC Events; used with permission)

The company said the shoe is 40% lighter than any other racing “supershoe” that it has created, and it retails for USD/EUR 500.  Assefa worked with the company on developing the shoe.

“This is the lightest racing shoe I have ever worn and the feeling of running in them is an incredible experience – like nothing I’ve felt before,” Assefa said in a statement provided by adidas on September 14.

“They enable me to put my full focus on the race, which is exactly what you want as an athlete. I feel ready to defend my title in Berlin and can’t wait to lace up at the start line in these.”

Kenya’s Sheila Chepkirui took second in 2:17:49, 20 seconds off of her personal best, and Tanzania’s Magdalena Shauri got third in a national record 2:18:41.

As for the 38-year-old Kipchoge, he took a swing at fast time, clocking 1:00:22 for the first half.  But he slowed in the second half and had to settle for “just” the win.  Kenya’s Vincent Kipkemoi got second in 2:03:13 (in his marathon debut), and third went to Ethiopia’s Tadese Takele in 2:03:24.  

“I missed the world record, but I am now the record winner in Berlin,” Kipchoge told race organizers.  “That is also something special.”

Nine men ran sub-2:05, the most ever in a single marathon.

No American man achieved the 2024 Olympic Games qualifying mark of 2:08:10, meaning that the United States doesn’t have a single qualifier. 

The fastest was Teshome Mekonen, a former Ethiopian, who clocked 2:10:16 in 24th place.  Scott Fauble dropped out after 30 km with stomach issues. Trying for an Olympic qualifying mark he ran the first half in 1:03:46.

About The Author

David Monti

David Monti is the Editor, Publisher, and Founder, of Race Results Weekly, a professional distance running data and news service providing results from over 3000 events annually, and worldwide. He is based in New York City. David Monti, @d9monti - (c) 2023 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

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