Fastest Marathon Hard to Comprehend

A runner from Kenya recently set a new world record for the Marathon. But how fast is that in terms a Central student might grasp?

By Anthony Centineo

The marathon, a whopping 26.2 miles of running, is a race that truly puts man’s physical and mental abilities to the test. It’s a grueling race. Bones are sure to ache. Muscles will throb. The lungs and throat may begin to sting with every breath. The mind might even fight every step. Most runners can say it’s one of their greatest, if not the greatest feat they can achieve. But no runner in the world can say they conquered the marathon like Eliud Kipchoge, who on Sunday, September 16th in Berlin, ran it in 2:01:39 and took the world record with him.

Kipchoge, a 33-year-old man from Kenya, is regarded as one the most dominant distance runners of his time. His new marathon record only adds to this, as he demolished the former record of 2:02:57 held by Dennis Kimetto of Kenya–shaving a full 1 minute and 18 seconds from Kimetto’s time.

But just how incredible really is Kipchoge’s performance? Put it in the perspective of student runners from Rapid City Central High School. Former cross-country runner for Central, Tony Smoragiewicz, was a two-time state champion and made his own mark in state history for high school cross-country. One of his state winning times is 15 minutes and 24 seconds. This is just under a five-minute mile for five kilometers, which is just over three miles. In Kipchoge’s marathon, he was able to run an average mile of four minutes and forty-five seconds. This almost seems preposterous, as Smoragiewicz would have to run faster than his state winning time for another 23 miles to match Kipchoge. Not even student runners of Rapid City Central or of the state of South Dakota today can match the skill of Tony Smoragiewicz, let alone the miraculous Eliud Kipchoge.

“This performance is truly unbelievable and couldn’t imagine doing it myself,” said Vincent England, a junior and cross-country runner at Rapid City Central High School, sharing his own thoughts on the matter. “But with many years of tremendous training and self-determination, Kipchoge was able to make this performance a reality.”

It’s also important to note that Kipchoge set his record Berlin, which is known as one of the fastest marathon races in the world. In fact, the last seven records have been set there. Five out of seven of these record holders were also from Kenya.

Photo: 4 Mijl van Groningen by Michiel Jelijs on Flickr