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.

Yulimar Rojas Sets Indoor Triple Jump World Record In Madrid

Venezuelan Yulimar Rojas set the women’s indoor triple jump world record on Friday in Madrid with a 15.43m leap. With it, the 24-year-old eclipsed Tatyana Lebedeva’s 15.36m mark that had stood since 2004.

Ababel Yeshaneh, Not Brigid Kosgei, Sets Half Marathon World Record

What was expected to be a coronation of marathon world record holder Brigid Kosgei as the half marathon queen instead turned into an introduction of a worthy counterpart as Ethiopian Ababel Yeshaneh stunned the Kenyan on Friday morning (Thursday night in the U.S.) at the Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Half Marathon by setting a 64:31 world record.

The 10 Best Performances From The Weekend

Between more Mondo Duplantis' theatrics in Glasgow, a ridiculous road 5k world record in Monaco and plenty of excitement stateside, there was a lot to get excited about this past weekend in track and field.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Don't Look Now... The NAU Lumberjacks Could Win NCAA Indoors

With just two weeks left to qualify for NCAAs a majority of the top-16 fields are coming into form on the distance side. The NAU men are currently slated to qualify ten entries across three distance events.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Joshua Cheptegei Smashes Road 5k World Record In 12:51

A little over a month after Rhonex Kipruto took down Joshua Cheptegei’s road 10k world record, the Ugandan has answered back in a big way by running 12:51 on Sunday in Monaco to smash Kipruto’s 5k world record. Cheptegei cut a whopping 27 seconds off the 13:18 that the Kenyan ran on Jan. 12, a run that came en route to Kipruto’s 26:24 10k record.

Mondo Does It Again, Breaks Pole Vault World Record

null

Mondo Duplantis is ushering in a new era of the pole vault, one centimeter at a time. Just a week removed from his world record clearance of 6.17m, the 20-year-old vaulted 6.18m at the Muller Indoor Grand Prix in Glasgow.

U.S. Indoor Women's Preview: Can Purrier Chase Down Houlihan?

The most interesting match-up of the indoor season materialized quickly. Last Saturday evening at the Millrose Games, Elinor Purrier dropped a stunning 4:16.85 mile to break the American record and dispatch a stacked field in a race that turned into a festival of personal bests and national records. It was a career-defining race for Purrier. A run fast enough to legitimately raise the question if she could beat America’s best mid-distance runner, Shelby Houlihan. This weekend at the US Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, Purrier will have two chances (the 3000m on Friday and the 1500m on Saturday) to pull it off. 

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

2020 High School Track & Field State Championships Central

2020 High School Indoor Track & Field State Championships:

Weekend Watch Guide: Simpson, Jones Chase Fast 5k At BU

One of the busiest weekends of the 2020 indoor track season is upon us, and FloTrack has you covered with several live events across the country. Boston will once again host some of the top professional and collegiate distance runners in the U.S., including Jenny Simpson, Dani Jones and Tyler Day.

U.S. Indoor Men's Preview: Coleman Debuts, Engels Battles Thompson, Murphy

The stakes for the 2020 USATF Indoor Championships were dramatically reduced in the wake of World Indoors being postponed due to the coronavirus. But prize money and bragging rights are incentive enough for the world’s fastest man and several top domestic distance runners this weekend in Albuquerque.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In