The double Olympic champion looked as serene as it is possible to be after 26.2 miles of hard toil, crossing the line in 2hr 1min 9sec to surpass his best set four years ago. For good measure, the 37-year-old Kenyan also beat the second-placed Mark Korir by nearly five minutes.

Source: Wikipedia

Yet at one stage Kipchoge, who wore a bib that said “Impossible is Nothing”, appeared set to go even faster as he blasted through the first 10km of the race in just 28min 23sec – a time that would have placed him 18th out of 25 athletes in the men’s Olympic 10,000m final in Tokyo – before powering through halfway in 59.51. No one has gone through 13.1 miles that speedily in a marathon, and the fear among some onlookers was that by trying to run an official sub-two marathon Kipchoge risked blowing up. Yet while he slowed slightly once his pacemakers dropped out, it was only in the latter stages of the race that the searing early pace told.

With four miles remaining, he was still more than a minute ahead of his previous world record, but that was reduced to 30sec as he passed the Brandenburg Gate and crossed the line. Even so, it was still an astonishing performance from an astonishing athlete.

Asked whether he would attempt a sub-two-hour run in Berlin next year, Kipchoge replied: “Let us plan for another day. I will celebrate this record and have to realize what happens. Just roll and see what happens.”

Not only has Kipchoge now won 15 of the 17 official marathons he has run, he is also one of three men to defend an Olympic marathon title, alongside the bare-footed Ethiopian Abebe Bikila in 1960 and 1964 and the East German Waldemar Cierpinski in 1976 and 1980.

According to theguardian