Brazil's Ronaldo da Costa ran the fastest marathon in history Sunday, breaking the 10-year-old record by 45 seconds in clocking 2 hours, 6 minutes, 5 seconds, at the Berlin Marathon.
The 28-year-old bettered the previous world best of 2:06:50 set by Ethiopia's Belayneh Densimo at Rotterdam in 1988."I wanted to run under 2:08, but when I saw how good the conditions were I just went for it," da Costa said, after running on a cool, sunny and windless day.
Da Costa broke to the front at the halfway point, reached in 1:04:42. He then struck out by himself and his acceleration was so quick that within less than a mile, he was 45 seconds in front.
He ran the second half in a sensational 1:01:23, and after crossing the finish line, he did a cartwheel in celebration.
Thus the men's and women's marks were broken in the same year. Kenya's Tegla Loroupe smashed the women's 13-year-old record with 2:20:47 at Rotterdam in April.
Kenyans took the next three places Sunday, with Josephat Kiprono the runner-up at 2:07:26, followed by Samson Kandie at 2:09:11 and Reuben Chebutich at 2:10:39. Kiprono's time was 11/2 minutes faster than his previous best, the 21-year-old Kandie matched his marathon debut time at Prague in May, and Chebutich's time was two minutes faster than his victory at Belgrade in April.
Belgium's Marleen Renders was the women's winner at 2:25:22, nearly three minutes ahead of runner-up and first-time marathoner Susan Chepkemei of Kenya (2:28:19). Three-time Berlin winner Renata Kokowska of Poland finished third at 2:31:54.
The race had about 28,000 starters - 4,000 more than last year - making it the third-largest marathon, behind London and New York. It was watched by an estimated 1 million spectators.
Berlin has attracted some of the world's top distance runners because of its reputation for fast times. Kenya's Sammy Lelei clocked the then second-fastest time in history of 2:07:02 at the 1995 race.
Da Costa, who is from Descoberto, 120 miles north of Rio de Janiero, earned $200,000 for the victory.
Da Costa, who has been running since he was 17, now is expected to command up to $250,000 in appearance money at future marathons.
"This will make him a millionaire," Luis Posso, Da Costa's manager, said.