Ethiopia’s Shumi Dechasa emerged victorious in a head-to-head duel with Kenya’s Eric Ndiema for the Hamburg Marathon title on Sunday (4), the 24-year-old setting a personal best of 2:06:44 – the third-fastest winning time in the history of the race.
“This means a lot to me,” said Dechasa. “It’s my sixth marathon, and the first time I’ve won. My best before this was second in Seoul.” The Ethiopian picked up €20,000 in prize money for the win, and added his name to the list of former champions that includes Dechasa’s training partner Shami Dawit – who won the race in 2012 – and last year’s victor, Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya.
Dechasa made his intentions clear early in the race, and was always prominent behind the three pacemakers as they passed the halfway mark in 1:03:32. If anything, the Ethiopian found the pace too relaxed. “The pace was comfortable for the first half, but still felt a little bit slow,” he said. “My plan was to run a faster time today but I still ran a personal best, so I’m happy.”
Shortly after the leading group passed the 30km mark in 1:30:31, Dechasa surged to the front and only the pre-race favourite, Eric Ndiema of Kenya, was able to follow the Ethiopian’s move. As they entered the final two kilometres, though, Dechasa was visibly the stronger of the leading duo and began to open a gap, which grew to 17 seconds by the time he crossed the finish line victorious in 2:06:44. Ndiema slowed considerably over the final kilometre but held on for second in 2:07:01, with Philemon Rono, also of Kenya, taking third in 2:07:08.
Speaking moments after the race, Dechasa was already looking ahead to later in the year, when he thinks he can break new ground in the marathon and record a fast time. “I will celebrate now with my family and coach, and then take a break for recovery,” he said. “I will then make a plan for running a fast time in September, 2:05 or 2:04. This win will mean a lot for me in the coming years.”
Another notable performance in the men’s race came from Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi, who in his fifth marathon of the year recorded a time of 2:09:36 for ninth place. Kawauchi intends to complete at least five more marathons this year, with his focus now on winning gold at the Asian Games in October.
Rono fulfils role as favourite
In the women’s race, Kenya’s Georgina Rono lived up to her billing as overwhelming pre-race favourite by taking a comfortable victory in 2:26:48. Rono stayed with the leading group as they passed halfway in a relatively pedestrian 1:13:57 and when she made her move shortly after the 30km mark, the race as a contest was as good as over.
The 34-year-old Kenyan – with a personal best of 2:21:39 – opened a sizeable lead over the closing 10km and came home with 42 seconds to spare in a winning time of 2:26:48. Ethiopia’s Dinknesh Mekash won the battle for second, finishing in 2:27:30, with Kenya’s Winny Jepkorir third in 2:27:57.
“It was good,” said Rono. “The course was tough. The atmosphere was great, though, with many people out on the course. I felt good, but it was a tough race.”
Katharina Heinig was the first German finisher in ninth place, recording 2:33:56. The first of the home contingent in the men’s race was Julian Flugel, who finished 14th in 2:15:39, on a day that saw almost 15,000 runners take to the streets of Hamburg.
Cathal Dennehy for the IAAF
1 Shumi Dechasa (ETH) 2:06:44
2 Eric Ndiema (KEN) 2:07:01
3 Philemon Rono (KEN) 2:07:08
4 Belay Asefa (ETH) 2:07:11
5 Laban Korir (KEN) 2:08:05
6 John Mwangangi (KEN) 2:08:06
7 Felix Keny (KEN) 2:09:04
8 Lucas Rotich (KEN) 2:09:22
9 Yuki Kawauchi (JPN) 2:09:36
10 Bonsa Dida (ETH) 2:12:33
1 Georgina Rono (KEN) 2:26:48
2 Dinknesh Mekash (ETH) 2:27:30
3 Winny Jepkorir (KEN) 2:27:57
4 Melkam Gizaw (ETH) 2:28:14
5 Yinli He (CHN) 2:28:56
6 Filomena Costa (POR) 2:31:08
7 Chao Yue (CHN) 2:31:10
8 Mercy Kibarus (KEN) 2:31:42
9 Katharina Heinig (GER) 2:33:56
10 Dorothy Peixoto (POR) 2:36:51