Berlin, GermanyKenyan Simon Kasimili and the reigning European Marathon Champion Ulrike Maisch of Germany took the inaugural edition of the ASICS Grand 10 K Berlin on Sunday, clocking 28:44 and 34:53 respectively.
Kasimili had taken the lead early in the race together with fellow Kenyan John Mutai. While Mutai lost contact before the 5 k mark, third-placed André Pollmächer gradually closed the gap. The German, who had won the 10,000m European Cup in 2007, soon caught Mutai, but Kasimili did not slow in the final stages, winning with a four second margin from Pollmächer.
“It was fun running through the zoo though of course I had no time to look at the animals,” said Kasimili, who believes that the ASICS Grand 10 Berlin is another course in the German capital that will see extraordinarily fast times in the future. “I believe that in the coming years we will see times in the region of 27:30 minutes here – it is possible on this course.”
After an absence of more than a year due to various injuries Pollmächer was happy with his comeback in Berlin. Clocking 28:48 for second place the 25-year-old ran a German season’s best.
“I think I have done well today and I am on the right track now for more,” Pollmächer said. He will now concentrate on his final preparations for his Marathon debut in Frankfurt on 26th October. Mutai took third place in the ASICS Grand 10 Berlin with 29:25.
Domestic affair on the women’s side
The women’s race was a domestic affair. Julia Viellehner took the lead early in the race, leaving behind Maisch. But the European Marathon champion, who had various injury and health problems after Gothenburg 2006, caught Viellehner at half way and then took the lead after 6 Km. While Maisch clocked 34:53, Viellehner remained second with 36:05. Not at her best today Claudia Dreher took third with a distant 37:54.
“I had hoped for a faster time, but still I am not unhappy with my performance,” said Maisch, who tends to do some Cross Country races before preparing a spring Marathon. “And it is nice to win this inaugural edition of the ASICS Grand 10 Berlin. There was a lot of support along the course.”
Olympic champion Dieter Baumann was one of a number of prominent athletes who competed in Berlin this Sunday.
“10 k is a great distance for runners. I believe that this race will develop fine in the coming years,” said Baumann, who jogged along the course together with a group of fun runners, finishing in 48:40. “I will definately be back next year – but then I will run serious!”
In ideal weather conditions 5,363 runners competed in this 10 k race, which included a 2x5 k relay as well. More than 50,000 spectators lined the course which led through the city centre and the Berlin Zoo, passing for example lions and rhinos.
Jorg Wenig for the IAAF