Geoffrey Mutai won the Berlin marathon this morning, edging out his training partner Dennis Kimetto by one second with little fanfare. The racing community, however, is viewing this a little cockeyed exactly because of the ho-hum way this thing ended.
Neither man made a push to win the race. Rather, they maintained the same pace they had throughout. Kimetto never made a move to overtake Mutai and Mutai never sought to put Kimetto away. Which is kind of strange when you think about the difference between finishing first and finishing second in a marathon. There's the glory and the personal satisfaction of having accomplished the ultimate goal. Winning is almost always better than not winning.
With the win, Mutai won the World Marathon Majors title. As reader, commenter and racing nut Raysism explains:
Berlin is the 5th of the 5 major marathons — they're like the PGA Championship or Australian Open...Geoffrey Mutai, who by virtue of his 2011 Boston and NYC wins, just needed another major to lock up the $500,000 prize for majors (on a 2-year cycle).
And there's the rub. On top of glory and all that other crap, Mutai was guaranteed to win $500,000 with a first place finish and Kimetto stood to win nothing (financially) with a first place finish and...something, possibly, with a second place finish and Mutai win. Even the broadcaster openly speculated about it. Whether it was "preplanned" or not, it sure looks and smells like a duck.