The Story Of The Only Man Bold Enough To Gap Kipchoge In Berlin

There were 24 talented athletes announced in this year's Berlin Marathon elite men's field earlier this month, but most track fans stopped scrolling after three. After all, the 'script' of this race was clear: one of Eliud Kipchoge, Kenenisa Bekele, or Wilson Kipsang was going to win. And if any of them was to be challenged, the last one would be Kipchoge -- the pre-race favorite who had run 2:00:25 in his most recent marathon, although the time was unofficial in terms of world records.

So if we were to say that the only runner to challenge Kipchoge with less than 5K to go would be neither Bekele nor Kipsang, but the man listed No. 23 on the elite field list, most track pundits would have been skeptical to say the least. But that was precisely the reason that made Guye Adola's 2:03:46 marathon debut record for second place in Berlin so special -- and what could be an indicator of incredible things to come.

To be fair, Adola didn't come in to the race penniless -- he won the world half marathon bronze medal three years ago, and his half marathon PR of 59:06 was (albeit marginally) faster than that of any of the "Big Three." But as we've learned from Zersenay Tadese, a half-marathon ace doth not a great marathoner make, so the 26-year-old Adola was expected to go out conservatively in the second pace group for his first-ever marathon, possibly hoping to pick up the scraps for a fourth-place finish.

But that didn't stop Adola from abandoning conventional wisdom and crossing the half-marathon with group one at a suicidal pace of 61:30, right alongside the Big Three and Vincent Kipruto. Despite his untidy stride, he seemed comfortable, and his strength prevailed once Bekele and Kipruto fell off the pack early.

The true moment of glory for Adola was just after 30K. When Kipsang walked off the course nauseous at the timing mat, the unthinkable had happened -- all but one of the Big Three were out, and the marathon debutant was the only runner to remain with Kipchoge with just over 10K to go in the race. As we would soon learn, Adola wasn't content to simply run with the best -- he wanted to dethrone the best, so he made the boldest move in the race to create a two-second gap on Kipchoge with 5K to go. The move sent Twitter into a storm.

The duel was on, and the odds seemed to be stacked against Adola; he ran like a beginner to the roads, drifting alongside Kipchoge rather than in front or behind him, and running wide of every turn despite several mid-race pointers from his competition. The timing of his late-race move will no doubt be questioned for weeks to come, but ultimately Adola had to settle for second in Berlin as Kipchoge played the patient game and drifted past Adola in the final miles.

Though Adola came up just short of the win, he was rewarded with a shiny new 2:03:46 de-facto PR -- a mark that would have been an outright PR for all but seven runners in history. Discounting Moses Mosop's wind-aided Boston run from 2011, his time was also the fastest marathon debut in history, taking that title away from current marathon world-record holder Dennis Kimetto.

He was brash, young, and his run was rife with tactical mistakes. But Guye Adola's run in Berlin meant much more than his time or place -- it could mean the coming of the world's next great marathoner, and, yes, possibly even the world's next marathon all-time record holder.

How Running Saved Hannah Reinhardt's Life

Hannah Reinhardt, a senior at the University at Albany, won the Northeast Regional on the roads this past weekend, earning an individual qualification for the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Nov. 23. This story, written by Reinhardt on behalf of America East's #BetterTo9ether initiative, details her journey through adversity and how running helped save her life.

Arkansas Goes For Calendar Sweep, Monson/Kelati Battle

In his 30 years at Arkansas, women’s head coach Lance Harter has won four national championships in track. He’s won 15 SEC Cross Country Championships. The program has finished in the top 10 at NCAAs on 10 occasions. But the team has never won an NCAA cross country title, and it’s been two decades since they finished in the top four. 

2019 DII XC Championships Preview: Mines, Adams State Look To Stay On Top

DII/DIII FloXC Show: NCAA Podium Picks

The 2019 DII NCAA XC Championships are this Saturday, Nov. 23, in Sacramento, California. FloTrack will have Live coverage of the event beginning at 10:00 am PT with the start of the women’s 6k.

House Of Run: An NCAA XC Primer

Kevin and Jason preview Saturday’s NCAA Cross Country Championships, LIVE on FloTrack, and discuss if the NAU men’s team can win their fourth straight title, who will emerge from a three-way battle for the women’s championship and the next chapter in the Alicia Monson/Weini Kelati rivalry.

How To Watch The 2019 DIII NCAA Cross Country Championships Live

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FloTrack will provide exclusive live and on-demand coverage of the 2019 Division III NCAA Cross Country National Championships. The DIII NCAA Championships will take place on Nov. 23 in Louisville, Kentucky. The broadcast will begin with the men's race at 10:45am EST, followed by the women's race at 11:45am. Sign up today to watch all three NCAA XC Championships live and get access to all of FloTrack's pre and post-race coverage. A subscription also gives users access to MileSplit and all of the events and premium content across the network of 25 FloSports sites.

How To Watch The 2019 DII NCAA Cross Country Championships Live

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FloTrack will provide exclusive live and on-demand coverage of the 2019 Division II NCAA Cross Country National Championships. The DII NCAA Championships will take place on Nov. 23 in Sacramento, California. The broadcast will begin with the women's race at 1:00pm (EST) and the men's race at 2:15pm. Sign up today to watch all three NCAA XC Championships live and get access to all of FloTrack's pre and post-race coverage. A subscription also gives users access to MileSplit and all of the events and premium content across the network of 25 FloSports sites.

Seven Lingering Questions Ahead Of NCAAs

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The NCAA fields are set and for the most part we have a good idea of who will be contending for the team and individual titles in Terre Haute. But several crucial questions still remain.

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ENTER HERE: 2019 FloXC Fantasy Challenge

2019 FloXC Fantasy Challenge: Final Round, NCAA Championships (POINTS WORTH QUADRUPLE!!!)

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Play FloXC Fantasy & Win A Trip To The 2020 NCAA XC Championships

This year's season-long FloXC fantasy league will give you a chance to compete against the FloTrack staff and be in the running to win the ultimate prize: a FREE trip to the 2020 Division I NCAA XC Championships!

2019 FloXC Fantasy Standings

Here are the current standings for this year's 2019 FloXC Fantasy league. The winner this year will receive a free trip to the 2020 DI NCAA XC Championships! After three rounds 'You've Kurgat to be kidding me!' is our current leader with 1,133 points.