Frankfurt, GermanyGilbert Kirwa of Kenya broke both the defending champion and the course record to win the Commerzbank Frankfurt Marathon today, in 2:06:14, a time that puts him in the top-20 all-time at the distance. It also nets him 95,000 euros in prize and bonuses.
The Commerzbank Frankfurt Marathon is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.
Kirwa, 23, was running only his second marathon, having won his first in Vienna six months ago, in 2:08:21. Vienna was a race for debutants, but today Kirwa was also more than equal to the tried and tested, and celebrated.
When Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot took the lead shortly after 25 kilometres, it looked as if he was on his way to a successful defence of last year’s title. But Kirwa pegged him back within five kilometres, and they ran together until 38k when Kirwa gradually moved away to win by over 50 metres, with Cheruiyot clocking 2:06:23 for second, still 58sec better than his course record of 2008.
“When he went away, I thought he would win,” said Kirwa of Cheruiyot immediately after the finish. “But when I started to catch him, I thought I could win. I had a little problem with stiffness in my back, but it’s OK. Two marathons, two victories, I’m very happy”.
Cheruiyot blamed an ongoing hamstring problem, for causing him to slow down, and let Kirwa take the advantage. He said, “It’s the same problem I had in Boston,” where he finished fifth in April.
Although he was on paper the fastest man in the field, with his 2:06:50 from ten years ago, William Kiplagat, 37, claimed beforehand that he is more of coach nowadays, principally to Cheruiyot. Yet he showed many of his young compatriots how to do it, by finishing third, in 2:07:05, also inside the previous record.
Austria’s Guenther Weidlinger, 10th in 2:10:47 broke the 23-year-old national record of Gerhard Hartmann by one minute and 52 seconds.
Agnes Kiprop of Kenya won the women’s race in 2:26:57, ahead of her colleague, Hellen Kimutai, 2:27:50, with Karolina Jarzynska of Poland third, in 2.29.10
After overnight rain and a misty early morning, the temperature for the 10am start was perfect at 12C (54F), with the sun breaking through. A group of 20 went through halfway in 63:35, half a minute slower than anticipated, but it gave the leaders the oportunity to run a ‘negative split,’ ie a faster second half, infinitely preferable to hanging on for grim death at the end.
But no marathon is easy, and Kirwa’s ample reward was the equal 17th fastest in history, and the advantage of a favourable exchange rate, earning him well over $100,000.
Pat Butcher for the IAAF
1 Gilbert KIRWA KEN 2:06:14
2 Robert K CHERUIYOT KEN 2:06:23
3 William KIPLAGAT KEN 2:07:05
4 Elias KEMBOI KEN 2:08:15
5 Alemayehu TAFERE ETH 2:08:46
6 Sammy KURGAT KEN 2:09:34
7 Benjamin KIPTOO KEN 2:10:07
8 Laban KIPKEMBOI KEN 2:10:40
9 Siraj Amda GENA ETH 2:10:41
10 Guenther WEIDLINGER AUT 2:10:47
1 Agnes KIPROP KEN 2:26:57
2 Hellen KIMUTAI KEN 2:27:50
3 Karolina JARZYNSKA POL 2:29:10
4 Firehiwot DADO ETH 2:29:20
5 Rasa DRAZDAUSKAITE LTU 2:30:29
6 Georgina RONO KEN 2:31:49
7 Atsede BAYISA ETH 2:32:05
8 Rose CHERUIYOT KEN 2:32:05