Eliud Kipchoge is the greatest marathoner of all time. Having won the past two olympic gold medals, and holding the previous official marathon world record (Berlin 2018: 2:01:39), we have now witnessed another moment that pushes human limits. On Sunday, September 25th 2022, Kipchoge set a new world record in the time of 2:01:09.
With a new official world record on the books, the question of “How is this possible” takes center stage. In the first of its kind*, COROS has gained access to the data that helped pace Kipchoge to this new record. Wearing the PACE 2, Moses Koech served as Kipchoge’s pacer and set an opening 21km pace only matched by few in the history of running.
Throughout this article, we will compare the old vs new record and highlight key data points from Moses Koech along the way. Sit back and relax as we break down this amazing performance!
Analysis Software: COROS Training Hub
* The NN running team provided access to Moses Koech data after previously keeping all data private. This does not indicate future sharing of data, but rather only serves as a single case-study into this world record breaking performance
Moses Koech: NN Running Team Pacer
In Kipchoge’s attempt to break the world record, he was provided two pacers from the NN running team. Moses Koech and Noah Kipkemboi. Within the role of “pacer”, it was Moses’ job to ensure Kipchoge was on pace for the record through 21km. Through the data behind Moses’ training, you will see that Moses carries a strong running pedigree and is one of the best runners in the world. With a personal best of 1:00:00 in the half marathon (Barcelona, 2020), Moses has the ability to pace Kipchoge to the splits he needs.
Moses has a large emphasis on aerobic development. This is no surprise given his half marathon ability. The data from his 4 weeks leading into Berlin shows the majority of his training is done at easy effort, or with a threshold focus. Within the marathon, elite athletes are right on the edge of their Aerobic Power and Threshold zones. This is exactly the type of training you’d expect to see from a marathoner looking to improve performance.
Moses has an elite threshold of 2:48/km pace. For all runners, Threshold is the pace you can hold for 40-75 minutes depending on your training focus. Moses paced Kipchoge at his Threshold pace for over 21km before finally pulling off. This is the epitome of pushing your body to it’s absolute limits!
2022 Berlin Marathon Analysis
The 2022 Berlin Marathon will go down as one of the best endurance performances ever. From getting ahead of world record pace within the first 5km, to Kipchoge running the final 19km alone. The theories behind what is humanly possible are changing. The following data showcases the effort it takes to accomplish this pace, along with a comparison between the old (2018) vs new world record.
Berlin 2022: Just like many athletes on the start line, adrenaline took hold of the best runners in the world. Coming out of the gates hot, Moses set a strong pace through 1km. After quickly settling into their intended pace, you can see Moses’ heart rate build to a steady 178-180bpm through the first 5km. The team went through the first 5km with an average pace of 2:51/km. From a pacing perspective, this was exceptionally fast. Not only were they quickly ahead of world record pace, but Moses was also operating well within his threshold zone. Having plenty of bounce in his step, Moses hit a peak cadence of 214 as he accelerated from the start.
Old vs New Record: 10 seconds ahead of 2018 pace
In 2018, Kipchoge went through 5km in a time of 14:24. Starting out 10 seconds faster in 2022, the pace was intentional. With a race against history, there was only one way to start…aggressive. With the temperature near 11°C (52°F) and winds light, the conditions were perfect for a fast day.
5-10km: 14:09 (28:23)
Berlin 2022: The pace lifted between 5-10km. Hitting a peak of 2:38/km, the team was picking up momentum and not showing any signs of slowing. Already a limited group of 3 pacers and 3 contenders, the race was on for the fastest marathon ever. Moses hit a peak cadence during this stretch of 191 while averaging 2:49/km pace. Moses was operating 100% within his threshold zone and helping Kipchoge get ahead of world record pace.
Old vs New Record: 38 seconds ahead of 2018 pace
Kilometers 5-10 were massive for the eventual world record. The team cut 28 seconds into the record during this 5km section (5.4 seconds/km). In regards to Moses’ effort, he could choose to slow slightly and stay longer with Kipchoge, or continue to run at threshold and set his teammate up for success. With Kipchoge focused on the goal, there was only one speed to run. Fast.
10-15km: 14:10 (42:33)
Berlin 2022: While the official timing results don’t show a significant difference in this 5km segment, it was actually the fastest segment of the day for the team. Due to not running exact tangents, or moving to the side for bottle feeds, an athlete can run longer than the official distance (42.195km) during a marathon. Throughout this segment, Moses maintained an average pace of 2:46/km along with a cadence of 181. You can see Moses heart rate slowly starting to tick up into the low 180’s which means the effort is beginning to set in. Moses is running a brilliant race and setting the scene for Kipchoge in the near future.
Old vs New Record: 1 minute 5 seconds ahead of 2018 pace
The team is flying and Kipchoge is looking strong. In 2018, Kipchoge came through 15km in a time of 43:38. In 2022, he was a full 1 minute and 5 seconds faster. While the best tactics are often a negative split, the NN running team was on a mission from the beginning! Moses is firmly in his threshold zone and Kipchoge is sitting on his hip.
15-20km: 14:12 (56:45)
Berlin 2022: The pace remains strong and now there are only 2 contenders in the mix. Kipchoge continues to have both of his pacers next to him as they run at 2:48/km pace. Moses during the 4th segment begins to slow his cadence slightly. Having hit peaks of 191 and 188 in previous segments, he manages to top out at 186 between 15-20km. This is a sign that his legs are beginning to get heavy and he is relying more on stride length vs frequency. While the cadence dips slightly, the pace remains high. Sacrifice is often needed for elite performances. The effort we are seeing is world class and should be applauded from all.
Old vs New Record: 1 minute 11 seconds ahead of 2018 pace
The lead continues to expand on the race against history. Where the drama builds in this edition however is that Kipchoge negative split Berlin 2018 on his way to the record. While the team is on an amazing pace, Kipchoge’s pacers are operating at their threshold. Athletes can only operate for so long at threshold before they require rest.
Half Marathon: 59:51
Berlin 2022: This may be the most impressive run of Moses’ career to this point. An already accomplished runner, Moses set a new official personal best in the half marathon while pacing Kipchoge. Coming through in a time of 59:51, Moses is averaging 2:49/km while slightly veering from the tangents for feed stations and other items. Having been at his limit all day, Moses has an average heart rate of 177bpm while maxing out at 186bpm.
Old vs New Record: 1 minute 15 seconds ahead of 2018 pace
In 2018, Kipchoge crossed the halfway point in 1:01:06. Having started 2022 in a more aggressive fashion, the team came through in 59:51. Having 1 minute and 15 seconds in the bank for the back half, it’s going to fall on Kipchoge to maintain this pace. For the pacers, they are near their limits and about to pull off.
20-25km: 14:23 (1:11:08)
Berlin 2022: This is the last segment that Moses and Noah will run with Kipchoge. Having pushed their bodies to their limit, the job is now up to Kipchoge. Having ran 23.34km, Moses set a new threshold on the day (dropping from 2:54/km to 2:48/km) and securing a perfect running performance score of 120% in the COROS Training Hub (compares run vs previous runs). Having fulfilled his role as a pacer on a record day, Moses ran a tremendous race and put Kipchoge in position to break history. Now, it’s up to the greatest of all time to run 19km solo at world record pace.
Old vs New Record: 1 minute 16 seconds ahead of 2018 pace
As the pacers fell off, it is now up to Kipchoge to secure his place in history. Having only gained 1 second on the previous record pace, he has his work cut out for him. With 2018 Kipchoge negative splitting the marathon, its up to 2022 Kipchoge to not give up 76 seconds over the final 17km (4.47 seconds/km). While this seems like a large buffer, 17km is a long way to run solo.
25-30km: 14:32 (1:25:40)
Berlin 2022: As noted earlier, the human body can only maintain threshold for so long before it requires rest. Due to lactic acid building and other physiological factors at play, it’s often best for elite athletes to run at Aerobic Power for the marathon distance (sub 3 hour finishers). While we don’t know the values behind Kipchoge’s data, we can operate with the understanding that he is running close to threshold, but not quite there. Was the pace too fast from the start? Did he spend too much time in threshold? these are questions that we will quickly find out as he runs solo for the final 17km.
Old vs New Record: 1 minute 5 seconds ahead of 2018 pace
For the first time during the race, Kipchoge has lost ground in a specific segment. Over the course of the past 5 km, Kipchoge gave away 9 seconds. While he is slowing, this is still a long ways from the 4.47 seconds/km he had as a buffer. Kipchoge is running strong and left 2nd place behind. Its just Kipchoge vs the clock for the next 35 minutes.
30-35km: 14:30 (1:40:10)
Berlin 2022: One of the best endurance performances of all time is taking place. Kipchoge has run these next 5km at a slightly faster clip than before. While he is not matching his negative split pace from 2018, he is holding steady between 2:53-2:55/km pace. after having started the race with kilometers in the mid 2:40’s, the wheels are staying on! Kipchoge is continuing to turn over a strong cadence and staying focused on the task at hand.
Old vs New Record: N/A
There was no official timing from the 35km mark in 2018. We can venture to guess that Kipchoge continues to lose time, but not in large chunks. Kipchoge is holding steady on world record pace and the finish line is closing in.
35-40km: 14:43 (1:54:53)
Berlin 2022: You have to wonder what is going through the mind of Kipchoge at this point. The record is within grasp, but there is no doubt it’s hurting. Having slowed to a pace of 2:57/km, he is roughly 6-8 seconds slower per kilometer than his starting pace. When chasing a world record, you have to put everything on the line. What we witnessed between kilometers 35-40 is a demonstration of pure grit and determination. It hurts, Kipchoge is slowing, but Kipchoge is the best of all time. This record is his.
Old vs New Record: 39 seconds ahead of 2018 pace
39 second cushion to history. 2.195 kilometers left until the tape. 2018 Kipchoge is closing fast as he knew a record was obtainable then, now it’s about defending his former self and setting a new all-time mark. The crowd is cheering, the excitement is high. 2.195 kilometers left until history.
40-42.195km: 6:16 (2:01:09)
New World Record: The Record Belongs to Kipchoge! 2:01:09
The best marathon performance of all time took place on September 25th, 2022 in Berlin Germany. Surrounded by a team of exceptional coaches, staff, and teammates, Eliud Kipchoge ran a time of 2:01:09. Having witnessed several amazing accomplishments over the years at COROS, we have never seen an individual and team push their threshold boundaries like today. This was an important day in endurance sports history as we continue to explore, what is possible?
When training in the best team environment in the world, NN running athletes focus on all of the important points of athletic performance. Items such as specificity of training, pacing, motivation, etc. For runners that have built inspiration and motivation from this performance, know that you too can focus on these items with the help of COROS training tools. We want to congratulate the entire NN running team on this amazing accomplishment as it only strengthens our passion to Exploring Perfection!