Frankfurt expected to deliver its traditionally high quality serving of fast times
The 35th edition of the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon shows every sign of maintaining tradition by serving up high quality racing in depth and fast performances on Sunday. The elite men, who will be led by Ethiopia’s Tadesse Tola plus Kenyans Mark Korir and Cybrian Kotut, are targeting a time of sub 2:06, while the course record could be under threat in the women’s race. Mamitu Daska has designs upon this mark of 2:21:01, set by her fellow-Ethiopian Meselech Melkamu in 2012.
15,500 runners have so far entered the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon which is an IAAF Gold Label Race. Adding other running events staged parallel to the marathon, a total of around 26,000 athletes are expected to take part in the jubilee edition of the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon.
The weather forecast predicts good conditions, setting a likely scene for a high-class race to develop once more on the flat course beside the river Main. Tadesse Tola is the fastest runner on the start list and the Ethiopian has the advantage of knowing the course. The 28 year-old arrives in Frankfurt with a personal best of 2:04:49, which he ran in Dubai in 2013. In 2010 he was leading in Frankfurt with nine kilometres to go, only to be overhauled by Wilson Kipsang in brilliant form and had to settle for second place in 2:06:31.
“I think I can run faster now than in 2010. Actually, I will try to go for a personal best. I am confident, because I have trained well for three months for this race,” reflected Tadesse Tola.
The three favourites have something in common as they have all won the Paris Marathon. Tola did so in 2010 while Mark Korir took this race in 2015 and Cybrian Kotut is the current Paris champion. “When I won in Paris last year I had not expected such a success. Now I have more experience and I think that I am capable of running sub 2:05 if weather conditions are fine and we work together,” said 28 year-old Mark Korir, who ran his personal best of 2:05:49 in Paris last year.
Cybrian Kotut is the youngest of the trio. The 24 year-old knows he has good genes for marathon running since his elder brother is Martin Lel. The multiple London and New York Marathon winner has played a decisive role in the development of Cybrian Kotut. „Knowing that Martin was so successful, this gave me confidence. I knew that with good training I would have a very good chance of running well,” says Cybrian Kotut, who is coached by Claudio Berardelli in Kapsabet. “Martin plays a major role. I don’t do anything without speaking to him. So he is like a coach as well. And it was Martin who told me to go to Frankfurt, because he knew that this course is really fast and that I could do well here. This is why I am here,” said Kotut, who ran a personal best of 2:07:11 when winning Paris this spring. “I am confident that I will be faster on Sunday.”
While the men’s course record of 2:03:42 set by Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang back in 2011 should be out of reach on Sunday the women’s mark of 2:21:01 could be in danger. Mamitu Daska caused some surprise during the press conference when asked about her training and her time goals: “I have trained for times of 2:18 to 2:19“, said the 33 year-old, who has plenty of experience from her previous races in Frankfurt. In 2011 she won the event with 2:21:59 which remains her personal best. In 2012 she finished third and a year later she was fourth here. “If the weather is fine the course record is definitely a goal.”
While last year’s runner-up Dinknesh Tefera of Ethiopia withdrew at short notice for personal reasons, Sutume Asefa Kebede has emerged as the likeliest rival to Daska. The 22 year-old has a personal best of 2:24:00 from Dubai this January. However, her Ethiopian 25 km record of 1:21:55 from Berlin 2015 suggests that she could run quite a bit faster than that. “It will be my third marathon on Sunday, so I have more experience now. It is my goal to improve my PB and my plan is to run the first half in 71 minutes,” said Sutume Asefa Kebede. “I often race in Germany and always enjoy the atmosphere. It feels almost like a second home here, the fans are so encouraging and I’m looking forward to Sunday.”
The Mainova Frankfurt Marathon will be a special race for the former Ethiopian Fate Tola. She received German citizenship in the summer, but the documents arrived too late for her to be included in the Olympic team. “I’m very much looking forward to this race, especially since the German championships are included in the event. My aim is to run the first half in 72:30 to 73:00 minutes and then we will see what is possible,” said Tola who has twice won the Vienna City Marathon (2011 and 2012) and has a PB of 2:25:14.
Elite athletes with personal bests
Tadesse Tola ETH 2:04:49
Mark Korir KEN 2:05:49
Cybrian Kotut KEN 2:07:11
Weldu Gebretsadik NOR 2:09:14
Birhanu Achamie ETH 2:09:27
Martin Kosgey KEN 2:09:50
Koen Naert BEL 2:10:31
Moses Masai KEN 2:10:36
Robert Curtis USA 2:11:20
Mitku Seboka ETH 2:11:44
Frank De Almeida BRA 2:12:03
Leonard Langat KEN 2:14:08
Demeke Wosene ETH 2:14:21
Samson Gezahai ERI Debut
Mamitu Daska ETH 2:21:59
Sutume Asefa Kebede ETH 2:24:00
Fate Tola GER 2:25:14
Sarah Chebet KEN 2:27:59
Kumeshi Deressa ETH 2:28:42
Helen Tola ETH 2:29:21
Doris Changeywo KEN 2:31:50
Emma Stepto GBR 2:32:40
Charlotte Purdue GBR 2:32:48
Lindsay Flanagan USA 2:33:12