Bernard Koech of Kenya won the Haspa Marathon Hamburg with a course record of 2:04:09. The 35 year-old tied his personal best and is now the fourth fastest runner in the world this year. Fellow-Kenyans Joshua Belet and Martin Kosgei took second and third with 2:04:33 and 2:06:18 respectively. Germany’s European Champion Richard Ringer finished in a strong sixth position with a personal best of 2:08:08 which is just inside the Olympic qualifying time.
Kenya’s Dorcas Tuitoek took the women’s race with 2:20:09, which is the second fastest time ever run in Hamburg. Leading for a long time Tiruye Mesfin of Ethiopia struggled in the final section and even stumbled and fell. She finished second with 2:20:18. Third placed Stella Chesang clocked 2:20:23 in her debut and broke the Ugandan record. Giovanna Epis was the fastest European in sixth place with 2:23:46, missing the Italian record by just two seconds. Germany’s Fabienne Königstein took eighth with a strong PB of 2:25:48. She was well inside the 2:26:50 Olympic qualifying standard.
Organisers registered 12,000 runners for the 37th edition of the Haspa Marathon Hamburg. Including races at shorter distances the total was over 30,000. „Incredibly we were able to improve last year’s course record. We had a slightly smaller elite field this year, so I never expected that to happen,“ said Chief-Organiser Frank Thaleiser.
In almost perfect conditions with 12 Celsius it was going to be a fascinating men’s race. A leading group of thirteen runners formed right after the start and they stayed together till kilometer 27. The half marathon mark was passed before in 62:32 which was slightly off the course record pace. But after 27k the pace of the leading group noticeably increased and the three Kenyans Bernard Koech, Martin Kosgei and Joshua Belet were able to break away from the group. Right before the 35k mark Martin Kosgei dropped back and then the decisive moment came when Bernard Koech left Joshua Belet behind.
Koech then build on his lead and with 2:04:09 he improved the course record by 38 seconds. Fellow-Kenyan Cybrian Kotut had won with 2:04:47 a year ago. With 2:04:33 for second place Joshua Belet was under the previous record as well. While Martin Kosgei followed in 2:06:18, Daniel do Nascimento from Brasil, who was among the pre-race favorites, finished fourth in 2:07:06. “I ran a god race and I knew that I probably had to run a time around my PB to win,“ said Bernard Koech. “I spoke with Eliud Kipchoge about the course before I came here and he gave me some advice.“ Kipchoge won his marathon debut in Hamburg back in 2013.
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In his fifth marathon Richard Ringer showed another strong and convincing performance. Clocking 2:08:08 in sixth place the German European Champion was just two seconds inside the Olympic qualifying time. Improving his PB by 41 seconds he is now the second fastest German marathon runner ever behind Amanal Petros (2:06:27). „The race was going according to plan for me. I have to thank my pacemaker, who helped me achieving this result. In the end it felt a bit like at the European Championships,“ said Richard Ringer. Germany’s Haftom Welday ran with the leading group, but struggled badly in the last 10k. He finished eighth with 2:09:40.
As expected it was Ethiopia’s Tiruye Mesfin who took the lead in the women’s raced early. With a half marathon split time of 69:46, she was however not as fast as she had planned. The 2:17:23 course record was out of reach, but at 35k Mesfin looked a certain winner. She was around a minute ahead of her rivals. But then disaster struck. The 20 year-old slowed and and then stumbled and fell to the ground in the final kilometer. Behind her Kenya’s Dorcas Tuitoek saw her opportunity She found another gear and passed the Mesfin around 300 metres before the finish line.
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“I was really surprised to win. I did not see when Tiruye Mesfin fell, I was just fully focused on myself. I still had enough energy,“ said 25 year-old Tuitoek, who had a PB of 2:24:54 before the race. “I knew that I could probably run a 2:20 time. This course is really fast and good for records.“
1. Bernard Koech KEN 2:04:09
2. Joshua Belet KEN 2:04:33
3. Martin Kosgei KEN 2:06:18
4. Daniel do Nascimento BRA 2:07:06
5. Rhonzas Kilimo KEN 2:08:08
6. Richard Ringer GER 2:08:08
7. Martin Musau UGA 2:08:45
8. Haftom Welday GER 2:09:40
1. Dorcas Tuitoek KEN 2:20:09
2. Tiruye Mesfin ETH 2:20:18
3. Stella Chesang UGA 2:20:23
4. Tsige Haileslase ETH 2:22:10
5. Marion Kibor KEN 2:22:35
6. Giovanna Epis ITA 2:23:46
7. Zenebu Bihzong ETH 2:24:16
8. Fabienne Königstein GER 2:25:48
More information about the Haspa Marathon Hamburg is available at: www.haspa-marathon-hamburg.de