The Berlin Marathon is commonly regarded as the fastest in the world. With the 43rd edition taking place on Sunday (25/09), we take a look at the numbers behind the reputation.


Since the first running of the Berlin Marathon in 1974, the men’s marathon world record has been broken 16 times. On seven occasions, the magical feat has been achieved in Berlin – more than at any other marathon in the world.


Only one man has improved the world record in Berlin on two occasions. Ethiopian great Haile Gebrselassie broke it in consecutive years – 2:04:26 in 2007 and 2:03:59 in 2008.

He is one of only four men to have broken the record more than once along with Derek Clayton (Fukuoka 67, Chicago 69), Khalid Khannouchi (Chicago 99, London 02) and Jim Peters (Polytechnic Marathon 52-52-54, Turku 53).


Year the men’s world record was first broken in Berlin, by Brazil’s Ronaldo da Costa, who ran 2:06:05.


The current world record is held by Dennis Kimetto, who became the first man in history to dip under the 2:03 mark in Berlin in 2014. He became the 13th Kenyan to win the men’s race.

Dennis Kimetto WR Graphic SPIKES ()


Kimetto also became only the fifth person to run a marathon faster than 2:04:00.

Emmanuel Mutai, Patrick Makau, Haile Gebrselassie and Wilson Kipsang did it before him. Since then, only Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge has dipped below the mark.


Only six men have run faster than 2:04:00, the winning time of Eliud Kipchoge in the 2015 race.

He achieved it despite his insoles coming loose within the first mile, leaving his feet cut open and drenched in blood by the time he crossed the line.


Distance running legend Kenenisa Bekele will compete in his fifth marathon on Sunday.

The Ethiopian is a three-time Olympic champion and owns the 5000m and 10,000m track world records, but has never won a marathon major (Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, New York).

Berlin Numbers Graphic ()


Peculiarly, the Berlin course has not been as kind to the women. Of the 26 world records to be set since the inaugural race in Berlin, only three times has it been achieved in the German city. The most recent came in 2001, when Naoko Takahashi, of Japan, stopped the clock in 2:19:46.


The women's course record, which is held by another Japanese athlete, Mizuki Noguchi. Set in 2005, it is the only occasion she went faster than 2:20, and the time still stands as an Asian record.


Number of seconds between the course record and Paula Radcliffe’s world record. Her time of 2:15:25, set in London, remains unbroken after 12 years.


The number of times an athlete from Germany (including old East and West divisions) has won the women’s race – more than any other country. Second is Ethiopia (6), third Japan (5).


Jutta von Haase and Uta Pippig both won the women’s race on three occassions, which stands as the record for multiple wins.

Ethiopian Aberu Kebede will aim to join them on Sunday, having won before in 2010 and 2012.


Local time the race starts on Sunday. See you there!