Eliud Kipchoge
AP

Eliud Kipchoge misses marathon world record by 63 seconds with shoe malfunction

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BERLIN (AP) — Wayward insoles cost Eliud Kipchoge a chance to break a world record.

Despite problems with his shoes from the first kilometer, Kipchoge won the Berlin Marathon on Sunday in a personal best time of 2 hours, 4 minutes.

The Kenyan’s insoles were noticeably slipping out of his runners around the 20K mark, flapping behind him as he maintained a leading pace with training partner Emmanuel Mutai and 2012 race winner Geoffrey Mutai.

Geoffrey Mutai, no relation to Emmanuel, fell behind around the 30K mark and Kipchoge made his move two kilometers further on.

“I didn’t have time to pull the soles out,” said Kipchoge, who had been targeting compatriot Dennis Kimetto’s world record of 2:02:57 from Berlin last year. “The world record was my target. I didn’t manage it but I’ll be back next year.”

Running his sixth Berlin marathon, Kipchoge finished comfortably ahead of compatriot Eliud Kiptanui in second on 2:05:22 and Feyisa Lilesa of Ethiopia third in 2:06:57. All times were official.

“From the first kilometer I had problems with my shoes,” Kipchoge said. “Nevertheless, I am very happy about my victory. I love the Berlin course and the people. I’m glad I won and in a personal best. I would very much love to come back and run an even faster time.”

Emmanuel Mutai was fourth and Geoffrey Mutai fifth, ahead of Canada’s Reid Coolseat, who ran 2:10:28.

Kipchoge shaved five seconds off his previous personal best time and 42 seconds off the previous fastest mark of the year that he set at the London Marathon on April 26.

Despite acknowledging that he “could have run faster,” Kipchoge laid no fault with his sponsor for his footwear issues.

“I tested the shoe, I tested many pairs of Nike. I think this shoe is the best shoe ever. The shoe is good,” the 30-year-old said. “The sole was not glued. I used the same pair in Kenya and it was good.”

Kiptanui was happy with his second-place finish.

“I think I had no chance to beat Eliud,” said Kiptanui, who knocked 17 seconds off his personal best set in Prague in 2010.

Kipchoge clocked 2:04:05 in 2013 only to be beaten by compatriot Wilson Kipsang, who set a then-record of 2:03:23.

Gladys Cherono of Kenya beat the 2:20 mark to win the women’s race in 2:19.25 ahead of Ethiopian trio Aberu Kebede, Meseret Hailu and Tadelech Bekele.

It was Cherono’s first win in only her second marathon. The 32-year-old half marathon world champion ran 2:20:03 for second place in her debut in Dubai last January.

Conditions were ideal on a cool, crisp autumn morning in Berlin. More than 41,000 runners from 131 countries were registered to run.

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Kristoffersen topples Hirscher to win giant slalom at worlds

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ARE, Sweden — Norwegian skiing is in safe hands, even with its beloved king now in retirement.

Henrik Kristoffersen gave Norway its second individual gold medal of the world championships by toppling an under-the-weather Marcel Hirscher to win the giant slalom on Friday.

With Kjetil Jansrud also victorious in the downhill last week, Norway appears in great shape heading into the post-Aksel Lund Svindal era.

Svindal signed off his illustrious career with a silver medal behind Jansrud in the downhill, and said he was leaving behind a strong generation of Norwegian skiing talent.

Kristoffersen is at the forefront of that — especially now that he has ended his long wait for a medal at a world championship.

The 24-year-old Kristoffersen had finished fourth in his last three races at the worlds — the giant slalom and slalom in 2017 and the slalom in 2015 — and headed into his second run of the GS in third place behind leader Alexis Pinturault and Hirscher, the favorite and one of skiing’s all-time greats.

However, Kristoffersen produced an aggressive run under the lights, his speed and flow particularly apparent in the bottom section, to win by 0.20 seconds over Hirscher. Pinturault won the bronze medal, 0.42 seconds back.

“It was about time to get a medal,” said Kristoffersen, who wasn’t necessarily expecting it to come in GS.

Kristoffersen’s last win in the discipline came at Meribel in 2015 and he has been consistently behind Hirscher, the seven-time overall World Cup winner and defending Olympic and world GS champion. He finished second to Hirscher at last year’s Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Kristoffersen was without a win in any discipline for a year but said he gained confidence from the course being doused with salt to maintain the snow surface amid unseasonably warm weather. The temperature in Are for the first leg was 8 C (46 F).

“There’s no one that skis on salt as much as Norwegians do,” he said. “Even though I haven’t trained on salt in GS in a long, long time, I have it from childhood.”

Hirscher’s preparations for the race were affected by a bout of flu that kept him in bed for much of the past two days. He acknowledged after the race that the likelihood of him lining up on the starting gate wasn’t high on Thursday.

“Normally,” Hirscher said, “if you have regular work on those days, you normally tell your boss I’m done for the day.”

Yet he managed to be only 0.10 seconds behind Pinturault after an error-free first run, keeping Hirscher on course for a record-tying seventh gold medal at the worlds. But he went wide at two gates in the top section of his second run, causing him to lose 0.41 seconds on Kristoffersen in the middle section.

“Second place is the first loser but Henrik had an amazing day with two great runs,” Hirscher said. “Henrik is at the top for such a long time. He was more than ready for a world title.”

Hirscher, who was noticeably sniffing after the race, added that he was “looking forward to getting back to bed again” to rest up ahead of Sunday’s slalom.

When Pinturault crossed the finish line in third place, Kristoffersen clenched his fists before walking into the finish area, crouching on one knee and acknowledging the jubilant Norwegian fans in the grandstand.

For Pinturault, it was his second medal of the championships after winning the Alpine combined on Monday.

Wesenberg wins first U.S. skeleton World Cup medal in two years

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With a bronze medal in Lake Placid earlier today, Kendall Wesenberg became the first American to reach the World Cup podium in skeleton in two years.

Wesenberg, who finished 17th at her first Olympics in PyeongChang, had a combined time of 1:51.10 in Lake Placid. Prior to today, her last podium finish at the World Cup was in St. Moritz in January 2017.

“This has never been my strongest track, so we really broke it down piece by piece, and I think it paid off,” Wesenberg said, according to USA Bobsled and Skeleton. “The second run, I kind of tried to throw it away at the top there. By the time I made it to corner 10, I was just thinking ‘build speed, build speed.”

Wesenberg, 28, grew up in California’s Central Valley, but her interest in sliding sports piqued while watching the 2010 Vancouver Games. When the commentators discussed the athletic backgrounds of the athletes, Wesenberg realized she played some of the same sports growing up. A quick Google search brought her to the USA Bobsled and Skeleton page. She told her siblings she was thinking of trying skeleton. They said she’d never do it. Challenge accepted.

Wesenberg emailed a U.S. coach and signed up for a combine and driving training in January 2011. Seven years later, she was sliding on Olympic ice.

Sliding coverage continues today on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, with women’s bobsled live at 3:15 p.m. ET and men’s bobsled live at 4:15.