Catherine Debrunner pulverises world record at Berlin Marathon
The 2023 Berlin Marathon will go down in history as Switzerland's Catherine Debrunner pulverised the world record* and the top four finishers of the Women's Wheelchair Race were well below the previous record time.
The Men's Race saw another Swiss triumph with Marcel Hug collecting his ninth victory in the German capital on Sunday (September 24).
Debrunner crossed the finishing line at the Brandenburg Gate after 1:34:16—impressive 1 minute and 26 seconds faster than the mark set by her compatriot Manuela Schaer for the T53/54 class at Oita Marathon in Japan (1:35:42) in 2019.
The Swiss finished just ahead USA's Eden Rainbow Cooper (1:34:17) with Schaer in third (1:34:17). USA's Susannah Scaroni took fourth place with a result that until Sunday morning in Berlin would also have been a new world record (1:34:31).
Debrunner's achievement was made even more impressive considering she made her international marathon debut just one year ago when she took her first win in the German capital.
"The world record is the result of a very strong team effort. Without the help of Manuela Schaer and Susannah Scaroni this insane time would not have been possible. We went 2.5 minutes faster than the previous year! And four women went under the previous world record," Debrunner said on a social media post. "Yesterday was the 1st anniversary of my marathon career. I was able to celebrate this occasion by defending my Berlin title and with a world record, which I still can't believe!"
The 2023 Laureus Awards winner also praised the evolution of female wheelchair racers on road events.
"So far in this marathon cycle, a different woman has won every marathon, which is another indication of how high our performance density is at the moment. I am really looking forward to the upcoming marathons in this super strong female field," added Debrunner.
The Men's Race was dominated by Hug which managed to distance himself from the pack very early to clock 1:23:07. USA's Daniel Romanchuk ended in second place (1:30:16) followed by Great Britain's (1:30:17).
"I was able to move to the front after only 6 kilometres, after that it was a lonely race, but it was huge fun," Hug said at the finish.
It was a day of impressive achievements for female athletes in Berlin as Ethiopia's Tigst Assefa set a new world record for the Able-bodied Race after 2:11:53, well below the previous record of Brigid Kosgei of Kenya (2:14:04).
Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge won the Men's Able-bodied Race (2:02:42).
*World record subject to ratification by World Para Athletics.