Trier traditionally stages the best quality of about 100 New Year’s Eve races with tens of thousands of runners in Germany. It was the same procedure this year, when 2,000 runners from 25 nations took part in the 19th edition of the "Bitburger Silvesterlauf". 15,000 spectators lined the course and despite the cold conditions with temperatures slightly below zero degrees Celcius the African athletes dominated the elite races. Kenya’s Micah Kogo and Ethiopia’s Mimi Belete were the winners in Trier.
Kogo, the Olympic 10,000m bronze medallist from Beijing dominated the 8k race as expected. The 22-year-old clocked 23:08 while his fellow countrymen Shadrack Lagat (23:21) and Hosea Tuei (23:23) made sure that only Kenyans would be on the podium. German middle distance hope Carsten Schlangen, who had been in the 1500m semi finals in Beijing, took fourth place with 23:29.
Hopes for a German winner in the women’s race had received a double blow before the event. First Sabrina Mockenhaupt had to cancel her start because of a knee injury, then Irina Mikitenko got a cold with fever around Christmas and was unable to run in Trier. While she finished her amazing year unbeaten (seven wins in seven races, among them the marathons in London and Berlin) the Ethiopians dominated the 5k race on New Year’s Eve. 30-year-old Mimi Belete took the event with 16:07 from her younger sister Almesh (16:15) while fellow countrywoman Abebu Gelan (16:20) was third. German steeplechaser Antje Möldner took fourth place just one second behind Gelan.
Jörg Wenig for the IAAF