Patrick Makau ran 2:03:38 at the Berlin Marathon on Sunday, breaking the world marathon record and bringing the mark back to Kenya after six years under Ethiopian control. Makau, known until recently as a half-marathon specialist, ran alongside Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassie through mile 17 before surging and running clear to the finish at 26.2 miles. Gebrselassie, who held the previous record at 2:03:59 and is perhaps the greatest distance runner in history, would later drop out a mile 22. Makau is one of several fast and aggressive Kenyans who are responsible for a recent precipitous drop in elite marathon times. On the Boston Marathon's downhill course this April, Kenyans Geoffrey Mutai and Moses Mosop ran 2:03:02 and 2:03:06, respectively, marks that are faster than Makau's time but do not count because Boston's course is not certified for records. But in the nine-year period since 2002, the official world marathon record has fallen two minutes. By contrast, in the 17-year period before 2002, the record fell only one minute and 30 seconds. Mosop, the Boston runner up, is expected to take a shot at Makau's time later this fall when he runs the Chicago Marathon.
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