What is the youngest marathon runner of all time

▷ Marathon world records

42.195 kilometers in 2:01:39 hours - that has been the men's world record since 2018. Eliud Kipchoge ran every kilometer in just under 2:53 minutes in the Berlin Marathon, and every 10 km section in 28:50 minutes. For recreational runners as well as most ambitious or even professional runners, this can hardly be imagined over a longer period of time. The women achieved the sensation in 2019: The 25-year-old Kenyan Brigid Kosgei won the Chicago Marathon in a sensational 2:14:04 hours. The British Paula Radcliffe had held the world record over the 42.195 km for over 16 years. It ran 2:15:25 hours in London in 2003. No runner had come close to that time since then. We took a look at the ten fastest runners and their best times.

Brigid Kosgei breaks Paula Radcliffe's marathon world record

The ten fastest marathon runners of all time

Eliud Kipchoge: The best marathon runner of all time

The Kenyan ran 2:01:39 hours on the streets of Berlin on September 16, 2018. In his eleventh victory over the 42.195 kilometers in the twelfth race - only in his second marathon in 2014 in Berlin he had to settle for second place in 2:04:05 hours - Eliud Kipchoge ran into new spheres. The clock showed 61:06 minutes after half of the course, only 60:33 minutes later Kipchoge was at the finish. On the way he also improved the 30 km world record with 1:26:45 hours.

Kenenisa Bekele: Rail superstar victorious in the Berlin Marathon 2016 and 2019

With 26: 17.53 minutes and 12: 37.35 minutes, the Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele has held the world records for 25 and 12.5 stadium laps since 2005 and 2004 respectively. At the latest at the Berlin Marathon 2016, he also demonstrated his full class on the road. In 2:03:03 hours he missed the world record at the time by just six seconds. Three years later he succeeded in the same place, which many experts would no longer have believed him capable of: Bekele pushed into the spheres of Kipchoge and won in 2:01:41 hours.

Birhanu Legese: Second in the Berlin Marathon 2019

If, as the third fastest runner in marathon history, you only cross the finish line in second place, then it is an extraordinary race. Ethiopian Birhanu Legese ran second in Berlin on September 29, 2019 with 2:02:48 hours, an absolute world-class time, which was only second behind Kenenisa Bekele.

Mosinet Geremew: runner-up in the 2019 London Marathon

The Ethiopian made himself the second fastest marathon runner of all time at the London Marathon 2019. 18 seconds behind Eliud Kipchoge, the winner of the Dubai Marathon 2018 crossed the finish line after 2:02:55 hours.

Dennis Kimetto: world record holder from 2014 to 2018

For four years the Kenyan Dennis Kimetto held the world record over the 42.195 kilometers. He was the first person to break the 2:03 hours in the 2014 Berlin Marathon and set the tenth world record in the Berlin Marathon. After 61:45 minutes for half one, he was even able to accelerate again with 61:12 minutes for the second half.

Geoffrey Mutai: Faster than ever in Boston

The Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai won the 2011 Boston Marathon in 2:03:03 hours. This was below the world record at the time. But since the undulating point-to-point route with too much gradient in total does not meet the regulations for the recognition of an official world record, this time was not considered to be a new record. Nevertheless, Mutai made himself one of the fastest marathon runners of all time - at least in our ranking.

Moses Mosop: Runner-up in the 2011 Boston Marathon

Just three seconds behind the winner, Mutai, his Kenyan compatriot Moses Mosop crossed the finish line at the 2011 Boston Marathon. After 2:03:06 hours, the clock stops for him.

Wilson Kipsang: Constantly fast over 42.195 kilometers

Wilson Kipsang not only proved in his marathon world record in 2013 that he is one of the best runners in the world. The Kenyan completed many marathons at an extremely high level. These include victories in the New York, Tokyo, Berlin and London marathons. In 2016 he finished second in the Berlin Marathon with a personal best of 2:03:13 behind Kenenisa Bekele.

Emmanuel Mutai: Second place in the world record race

The Kenyan Emmanuel Mutai ran in 2014 - where else could it be - on the streets of Berlin at a world class time. The problem with this: He was standing in the shadow of his compatriot Dennis Kimetto, who finished 16 seconds before his 2:03:13 hours and set a world record.

Mule Wasihun: Third place in London 2019

The 2019 London Marathon was a run of superlatives - again. With Eliud Kipchoge and Mosinet Geremew, two runners remained in a race under 2:03 hours for the first time. In the same race, Ethiopian Mule Wasihin finished third in 2:03:16 hours.

The last world record over the marathon distance was set by Eliud Kipchoge. In 2018, the clock stopped for him at the Berlin Marathon after 2:01:39 hours.

The ten fastest female marathon runners of all time

Brigid Kosgei: Changing of the guard after 16 years

October 13, 2019 was a historic day for the women's marathon. The Kenyan Brigid Kosgei broke Radcliffe's 16-year-old world record in the Chicago Marathon. After a seemingly insane start, Kosgei let her critics get quieter with each additional 5 km section. After 66:59 minutes for the first half, she managed to maintain the pace almost to the finish. With 2:14:04 hours, the old record pulverized and made herself the fastest female marathon runner of all time. The lead over the runner-up was almost seven minutes when she won. Already in spring Kosgei made people sit up and take notice with her victory in the London Marathon in 2:18:20 hours.

Paula Radcliffe: Two Steps Ahead of the World

On April 13, 2003, the British Paula Radcliffe won the London Marathon in an unbelievable 2:15:25 hours. A year earlier she had run a new world record in the Chicago Marathon. Seven gold medals at world and four at European championships also made her one of the greatest runners of all time - if not the greatest of all.

Mary Keitany: Fastest all-women marathon

In 2003, in the time of Paula Radcliffe, women ran with men. Mary Keitany set the world record for women-only races in 2017. The Kenyan crossed the finish line after 2:17:01 hours.

Ruth Chepngetich: Winner of the Dubai Marathon

The Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich won the Dubai Marathon in 2:17:08 hours in 2019, making herself one of the fastest marathon runners in history. This is not the first time that Dubai has achieved real world-class times alongside Berlin and London.

Worknesh Degefa: 2019 Boston Marathon Winner

The Ethiopian Worknesh Degefa won the Boston Marathon 2019. But she was significantly faster in Dubai around three months earlier. She crossed the finish line in second place after 2:17:41 hours.

Tirunesh Dibaba: three-time Olympic champion

In 2008 Tirunesh Dibaba ran the 5,000 and 10,000 meters to double Olympic gold in Beijing. In 2012 it went gold and bronze. Two more bronze medals from Athens and Rio de Janeiro adorn the Ethiopian’s track record. In 2017 she made herself one of the fastest marathon runners of all time in the London Marathon with second place in 2:17:56 hours.

The biggest marathons in Germany

Gladys Cherono: three-time Berlin marathon winner

The Kenyan Gladys Cherono has no three Olympic gold medals, but three Berlin Marathon victories. In 2015, 2017 and 2018 it was unbeatable in the German capital. In 2018 she managed to do this in 2:18:11 hours, with which she was able to improve the course record by more than a minute.

Vivian Cheruiyot: Olympic gold 2016, London victory 2018

Two years after her greatest success as the Olympic champion over 5,000 meters in Rio de Janeiro, Vivian Cheruiyot won the 2018 London Marathon in 2:18:31 hours. Between 2009 and 2015, the Kenyan won four world championship gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters.

Ruti Aga: Second of the Berlin Marathon 2018

In 2:18:34 hours, the Ethiopian Ruti Aga came second in the Berlin Marathon 2018. She missed the victory by 23 seconds, but was still well below the old course record.

Catherine Ndereba: Last world record before the Radcliffe era

With 2:18:47 hours, the Kenyan Catherine Ndereba set the last world record ahead of Paula Radcliffe. The Olympic runner-up from Athens and Beijing won the 2001 Chicago Marathon over the marathon distance. She also won silver at the World Marathon Championships in 2005, and even gold in 2003 and 2007.


This means that the eternal duel between Ethiopia and Kenya in the long-distance men's marathon in terms of fastest runners of all time ends six to four for Kenya. When it comes to women, Kenya is also ahead with six to three.

While the men's marathon world record has been improved eight times in the current millennium, this was only the case four times - the last two times by Paula Radcliffe and in 2019 Brigid Kosgei. In the last 50 years, only Haile Gebrselassie had managed to improve her own world record over 42.195 kilometers. In 2008, the Ethiopian ran 2:03:59 hours in Berlin, 27 seconds faster than a year earlier in the same place.

Six of the ten fastest marathon runners ran their best times in the Berlin Marathon, two each in the London and Boston Marathon. With this, Berlin once again underscores its exceptional position as a world record track par excellence. However, five of the ten fastest women of all time set their best times in the London Marathon. This succeeded two each in the Berlin and Chicago marathon and one in the Dubai marathon.

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