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MARATHON

Former farmer breaks marathon world record

UPDATE: Kenya's Dennis Kimetto smashed the world record in the Berlin Marathon on Sunday as he made history by becoming the first man to break the 2hr 03min barrier. He led a field of 40,000 runners.

Former farmer breaks marathon world record
Kimetto crosses the line in a world record time. Photo: DPA

His lightning fast run of 2hr 02min 57sec was the second year running that the record had been broken in Berlin, the previous best being 26 seconds slower — the 2:03:23 set over the same course last year by compatriot Wilson Kipsang.

The performance by the 30-year-old, a former farmer from western Kenya's high-altitude Rift Valley region, delivered a new benchmark in human endurance and cemented the Kenyans' total dominance of international road racing.
   
"As the race went on, I saw I could do it, I'm delighted to have won," the modest Kimetto said after making history and nudging world leading times close to the mythical 2-hour barrier.
   
Kimetto, the pre-race favourite, was part of a seven-man breakaway group after 20km, which included fellow-Kenyans Emmanuel Mutai and Geoffrey Kamworor.
   
But Kimetto shook off Mutai four kilometres from home and crossed the line in record time over what is regarded as the world's fastest marathon course. Mutai finished second, also inside the previous record time with a run of 2:03:13 – illustrating the depth of Kenya's talent.
   
Ethiopia's Abera Kuma a long way back in third in 2:05:56.
 
 
   
Kimetto hails from the town of Eldoret – a part of the country that has produced some of the most dominant distance runners in history and is emerging as the world's training capital.
   
He was working as a farmer in an impoverished rural area before he took up running in his mid-20's, joining the training group of Geoffrey Mutai – a Boston, Berlin and two-time New York marathon champion and the former holder of the unofficial world best, a 2:03.02 set in Boston.
   
His first major win came in Nairobi's Half Marathon in 2011, and he went on to finish second behind his training partner Mutai in the Berlin Marathon in 2012.
   
His 2:04.16 was the fastest marathon debut in history, and notable as he is one of a new breed of Kenyan road racers who do not have a track pedigree.
   
In 2013 he won the Tokyo Marathon, setting a course record of 2:06.50, and then the 2013 Chicago Marathon in a course record of 2:03.45 – where he also beat Emmanuel Mutai into second place.
   
In the women's race, Tirfi Tsegaye led an Ethiopia 1-2, winning in 2:20:18 from Feyse Tadese (2:20:27) – failing to break the 2:20 barrier and still a way off the 2:15.25 set by Britain's Paula Radcliffe in London in 2003.
   
Shalane Flanagan of the United Statges was third in 2:21:14, a personal best but short of the American record.
 
Around 74,000 people applied to take part in this year's marathon, with the 40,000 places being given away by ballot.
 
Although fewer fancy dress costumes were on display than other major marathons such as London, there were still some colourful participants.
 
 
The most serious incident during the marathon appears to have been suffered by a Berlin politician.
 
Bernd Krömer, the city's secretary for internal administration, collapsed between the 35km and 40km mark. The 58-year-old was resuscitated by medics and taken to hospital.
 

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BERLIN

EXPLAINED: Berlin’s latest Covid rules

In response to rapidly rising Covid-19 infection rates, the Berlin Senate has introduced stricter rules, which came into force on Saturday, November 27th. Here's what you need to know.

A sign in front of a waxing studio in Berlin indicates the rule of the 2G system
A sign in front of a waxing studio indicates the rule of the 2G system with access only for fully vaccinated people and those who can show proof of recovery from Covid-19 as restrictions tighten in Berlin. STEFANIE LOOS / AFP

The Senate agreed on the tougher restrictions on Tuesday, November 23rd with the goal of reducing contacts and mobility, according to State Secretary of Health Martin Matz (SPD).

He explained after the meeting that these measures should slow the increase in Covid-19 infection rates, which was important as “the situation had, unfortunately, deteriorated over the past weeks”, according to media reports.

READ ALSO: Tougher Covid measures needed to stop 100,000 more deaths, warns top German virologist

Essentially, the new rules exclude from much of public life anyone who cannot show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19. You’ll find more details of how different sectors are affected below.

Shops
If you haven’t been vaccinated or recovered (2G – geimpft (vaccinated) or genesen (recovered)) from Covid-19, then you can only go into shops for essential supplies, i.e. food shopping in supermarkets or to drugstores and pharmacies.

Many – but not all – of the rules for shopping are the same as those passed in the neighbouring state of Brandenburg in order to avoid promoting ‘shopping tourism’ with different restrictions in different states.

Leisure
2G applies here, too, as well as the requirement to wear a mask with most places now no longer accepting a negative test for entry. Only minors are exempt from this requirement.

Sport, culture, clubs
Indoor sports halls will off-limits to anyone who hasn’t  been vaccinated or can’t show proof of recovery from Covid-19. 2G is also in force for cultural events, such as plays and concerts, where there’s also a requirement to wear a mask. 

In places where mask-wearing isn’t possible, such as dance clubs, then a negative test and social distancing are required (capacity is capped at 50 percent of the maximum).

Restaurants, bars, pubs (indoors)
You have to wear a mask in all of these places when you come in, leave or move around. You can only take your mask off while you’re sat down. 2G rules also apply here.

Hotels and other types of accommodation 
Restrictions are tougher here, too, with 2G now in force. This means that unvaccinated people can no longer get a room, even if they have a negative test.

Hairdressers
For close-contact services, such as hairdressers and beauticians, it’s up to the service providers themselves to decide whether they require customers to wear masks or a negative test.

Football matches and other large-scale events
Rules have changed here, too. From December 1st, capacity will be limited to 5,000 people plus 50 percent of the total potential stadium or arena capacity. And only those who’ve been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 will be allowed in. Masks are also compulsory.

For the Olympic Stadium, this means capacity will be capped at 42,000 spectators and 16,000 for the Alte Försterei stadium. 

Transport
3G rules – ie vaccinated, recovered or a negative test – still apply on the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams and buses in Berlin. It was not possible to tighten restrictions, Matz said, as the regulations were issued at national level.

According to the German Act on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, people have to wear a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask  on public transport.

Christmas markets
The Senate currently has no plans to cancel the capital’s Christmas markets, some of which have been open since Monday. 

According to Matz, 2G rules apply and wearing a mask is compulsory.

Schools and day-care
Pupils will still have to take Covid tests three times a week and, in classes where there are at least two children who test positive in the rapid antigen tests, then tests should be carried out daily for a week.  

Unlike in Brandenburg, there are currently no plans to move away from face-to-face teaching. The child-friendly ‘lollipop’ Covid tests will be made compulsory in day-care centres and parents will be required to confirm that the tests have been carried out. Day-care staff have to document the results.

What about vaccination centres?
Berlin wants to expand these and set up new ones, according to Matz. A new vaccination centre should open in the Ring centre at the end of the week and 50 soldiers from the German army have been helping at the vaccination centre at the Exhibition Centre each day since last week.

The capacity in the new vaccination centre in the Lindencenter in Lichtenberg is expected to be doubled. There are also additional vaccination appointments so that people can get their jabs more quickly. Currently, all appointments are fully booked well into the new year.

 

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