Sunday, August 17, 2014

Perkins Crushes 100 Meilen Berlin Course Record (updated)

by Brett Larner
photos by Dr. Helmut Winter

In the 25th anniversary year of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Great Britain's Mark Perkins ran the race of his life to take nearly three hours off the 100 Meilen Berlin course record and an hour off his own best, covering the 100 mile course along the former path of the Berlin Wall in 13:06:52.

A partially handicapped runner ranked 6th in the world for 100 km in 2013, Japan's Tsutomu Nagata took the race out hard in his European debut, running mid-11 hour pace, just one second off world record pace through 21 km, and holding near world record level through 30 km before settling into something more sustainable in the low-12 hour range.  Skipping many aid stations while receiving on-the-run assistance from his wife and daughter, Perkins was never far behind him, maxing out at 4 minutes behind as he followed Nagata's lead and ran steadily on low-12 hour pace.

Nearing halfway Nagata began to suffer stomach trouble and slowed.  Perkins made contact around 75 km, but while Nagata tried to stay with him he quickly lost touch and was two minutes behind by 79 km.  Now alone out front, Perkins gradually slowed, unchallenged the rest of the way but just missing a rare sub-13 hour clocking as he knocked the course record from last year's 15:53:45 to a world-class 13:06:52, a major improvement on his 14:03:54 best.  Runner-up Marco Bonfiglio just missed Perkins' old PB as he took 2nd in 14:04:27.  The top five, including last year's course record-setter Peter Flock, all broke the former course record.

After being left behind Nagata suffered mightily from his internal problems, clocking over an hour for the 6 km from 79 to 85 km after an extended break at an aid station.  Following that he got back in gear with some of the fastest splits of his race, but he again ran into trouble near 110 km.  After staggering through the next 27 km Nagata talked with the race doctor who made an initial determination that his stomach trouble made it dangerous for him to continue the race, but thanks to the intervention of an interpreter Nagata was allowed to continue.  Pulling himself together, he covered the final 23 km two minutes faster than winner Perkins' split, crossing the line in 11th in 16:50:59.

Nearly an hour and a half after him, women's winner Grit Seidl finished in 18:16:29 not far ahead of fellow German Martina Schliep, 2nd in 18:59:19.  Canadian Veronique Bourbeau was 3rd in 21:19:32.  All told 120 men and 10 women in the starting field of 300 cleared 24 hours for the complete course.

Update: Winner Mark Perkins has posted his recap of his race here.  Read Dr. Helmut Winter's firsthand account of the race in German here.

100 Meilen Berlin
Berlin, Germany, Aug. 16-17, 2014
click here for complete results

1. Mark Perkins (Great Britain) - 13:06:52 - CR
2. Marco Bonfiglio (Italy) - 14:04:27 (CR)
3. Patrick Hoesl (Germany) - 15:19:46 (CR)
4. Peter Flock (Germany) - 15:51:50 (CR)
5. Christof Kuehner (Germany) - 15:53:31 (CR)
11. Tsutomu Nagata (Japan) - 16:50:59

1. Grit Seidl (Germany) - 18:16:29
2. Martina Schliep (Germany) - 18:59:19
3. Veronique Bourbeau (Canada) - 21:19:32

text (c) 2014 Brett Larner, all rights reserved
photos (c) 2014 Dr. Helmut Winter, all rights reserved


TokyoRacer said...

Nagata is a tough dude.

Anna Novick said...

Amazing. Can't believe he finished.