The BMW Berlin Marathon is commonly regarded as the fastest in the world. With the 44th edition taking place on Sunday (24th September), 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 (Chiswick Polytechnic Marathon '52-'53-'54, Turku '53).


The 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. 


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


2016 was arguably the fastest year of marathon running. Four men went sub-2:04:00, three of whom hadn't dipped below the mark before.

First Eliud Kipchoge and Stanley Biwott dipped below the mark at the London Marathon in April, then Kenenisa Bekele joined the club at the Berlin Marathon in September with his 2:03:03 win. Wilson Kipsang bettered his former WR PB to 2:03:13 in the same race.


The number of times each of the three headlining men in 2017 has won the Berlin Marathon so far.

Wilson Kipsang won in a then world record 2:03:23 in 2013, Eliud Kipchoge took the win in 2015 and Kenenisa Bekele is the defending champion. 


Only four men in history have won the Berlin Marathon on more than one occasion. In 1979 and 1980 Ingo Sensburg completed the first double, Suleiman Nyambui followed in '87/'88. Haile Gebrselassie went undefeated on the streets of Berlin between 2006 and 2009, while Patrick Makau won in 2010 and 2011.

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, Uta Pippig and Ethiopia's Aberu Kebede all won the women’s race on three occassions, which stands as the record for multiple wins.


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


This article was first published on 22.09.2015 and has been updated with current stats