The last full year of marathons before the 2020 Olympics saw not only Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge‘s successful bid to break the two-hour mark under controlled conditions but also a women’s world record and four of the fastest men’s times ever.
Brigid Kosgei of Kenya took more than a minute off Paula Radcliffe‘s 16-year-old record, winning the Chicago Marathon in 2:14:01.
FAST TIMES: Kosgei, Kipchoge herald new era
Kipchoge still holds the world record of 2:01:39, set in the 2018 Berlin Marathon 14 months ago. But Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia came within two seconds of that mark in this year’s Berlin race, and Kipchoge himself won the London Marathon with the third-fastest time in history (2:02:37).
Add the runners-up from those races — Ethiopians Birhanu Legese (Berlin, 2:02:48) and Mosinet Geremew (London, 2:02:55) — and the four fastest times behind Kipchoge’s world record were posted in the past seven months.
The top U.S. runner on the IAAF’s compilation of the year’s best times is Sara Hall, whose time of 2:22:16 in Berlin tied for 33rd on the list. (The IAAF site currently has a glitch listing a U.S. runner higher on the list; the time is incorrect.) Emily Sisson was 49th with her 2:23:08 in London. Sally Kipyego‘s 2:25:10 in Berlin ranks 93rd. (Add times from courses the IAAF considers “irregular” for various reasons, and Kipyego ranks 96th.)
With Galen Rupp out of action while recovering from Achilles surgery, the only U.S. runner among the top 100 was Leonard Korir (tied for 87th, 2:07:56, Amsterdam), but nine of the top 10 U.S. times in the Olympic cycle were posted this year. Only Rupp’s 2:06:07 from Prague in May 2018 ranks higher.
The two next-fastest U.S. men’s times from 2019 were at the Boston Marathon, which the IAAF considers “irregular” because the finish line isn’t near the start line and the overall elevation at the finish line is lower than the start.
The top U.S. women’s times from the Olympic cycle still belong to Jordan Hasay (2:20:57, Chicago 2017) and Amy Cragg (2:21:42, Tokyo 2018), followed by Hall and Sisson.
USA Track and Field will hold its Olympic marathon trials Feb. 29 in Atlanta.
The fastest times of the year (* – on “irregular” course) …
|Jared Ward||2:10:45||New York City||6th|
|Desiree Linden||2:26:46||New York City||6th|
|Aliphine Chepkerker Tuliamuk||2:26:50||Rotterdam||3rd|
|Kellyn Johnson||2:27:00||New York City||7th|
|Kenenisa Bekele (ETH)||2:01:41||Berlin||1st|
|Eliud Kipchoge (KEN)||2:02:37||London||1st|
|Birhanu Legese (ETH)||2:02:48||Berlin||2nd|
|Mosinet Geremew (ETH)||2:02:55||London||2nd|
|Mule Washihun (ETH)||2:03:16||London||3rd|
|Getaneh Molla (ETH)||2:03:34||Dubai||1st|
|Sisay Lemma (ETH)||2:03:36||Berlin||3rd|
|Herpasa Negasa (ETH)||2:03:40||Dubai||2nd|
|Marius Kipserem (KEN)||2:04:11||Rotterdam||1st|
|Asefa Mengstu (ETH)||2:04:24||Dubai||3rd|
|Lonah Chemtai Salpeter||2:19:46||Prague||1st|
|Vivian J. Cheruiyot||2:20:14||London||2nd|
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