Last Sunday, Dennis Kimetto set a new marathon world record at the Berlin Marathon. Kimetto took 26 seconds off the existing record finishing in 2 hours 2 minutes and 57 seconds. Kimetto's record-setting run came 30 years after my one shot at the marathon, a shot I took in Berlin in September of 1984. I've written in this blog about that effort before, and there's no need to repeat any of it here. Suffice it to say that every now and then the temporal distance between the present and some of the formative events in my life (my entire three years in Berlin counting as one and many of those) astounds me. Thirty years! I can't honestly say that I remember the 1984 Berlin Marathon as if it happened yesterday, but I do have many vivid memories from that day. Aside from some temporary discomfort that started at about mile 19, the memories are quite pleasant. The race started at the Reichstag and ended on the Ku'damm, two of my favorite locations in Cold War Berlin. And my fiance (I'd asked her to marry me the evening before the race) was waiting for me at the end of the more than 26 mile trial. A good day, no doubt.
I never ran another marathon, so the one I ran in Berlin will always stand as my personal best. And that means that Dennis Kimetto and I, for the time being at any rate, have something in common.