Congratulations to Patrick Makau Musyoki of Kenya for setting the new world record in the marathon at the Berlin Marathon on 25 September 2011. The new record is 21 seconds better than the old, which was set almost three years ago by Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia. Musyoki finished the 26-mile and 385-yard race in 2 hours 3 minutes and 38 seconds.
What was Musyoki's average speed? Take the distance traveled (26 miles 385 yards or 42.195 km) over his record-breaking time and get 12.724 mph = 20.478 km/hr = 5.688 m/s. Put another way, Musyoki averaged 4 minutes 42.927 seconds per mile.
I have never run a mile in under 5 minutes in my entire life. Musyoki averaged better than 4.75 minutes per mile for more than 26 miles!
Note that 25 September 2011 is an historic day in Kenya. Besides Musyoki's new marathon world record, Kenya lost one of its greatest citizens. Wangari Maathai, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, died on the same day. A phenomenal political and environmental activist, Maathai's Nobel Peace Prize marked the first time the award was given to an African woman. Click here to learn more about Maathai's work.