One of the legends of marathon running had his record broken on Sunday in impressive fashion. Kenya's Patrick Makau won the Berlin Marathon with a time of 2 hours 3 minutes and 38 seconds, shattering the previous mark held by Haile Gebrselassie by 21 seconds, The New York Times reports.
Gebrselassie, considered by many to be among the best runners of all time, was hanging with the much younger Makau throughout much of the first half of the 26.2 mile race. However, at about the 17 mile mark Makau began a surge that left the 38-year-old Gebrselassie in the dust and eventually may have caused him to drop out of the race altogether.
"This has been the greatest day of my running life," Makau told the Times. "When I woke up, my body didn’t feel very good. As the race went on, I felt better. I felt I could break the world record. It’s a great thing to beat Haile, one of my heroes."
What this means for the future of distance running could be significant. Some believe that the win could signal a changing of the guard, with the 26-year-old Makau becoming an early favorite for the 2012 London Olympics.
The result could also spell the end of Gebrselassie's long and storied career. According to the Associated Press, the Ethiopian has broken 27 world records and he owns two Olympic gold medals in the 10,000 meters.
As for the women's end in Berlin, Kenya's Florence Kiplagat came home with the win, crossing the finish line in 2 hours, 19 minutes and 44 seconds while world record holder Paula Radcliffe finished in third place.