David Langat on the way to his 2:10:46 win in Dusseldorf (Victah Sailer) © Copyright
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Langat and Hahn prevail in Dusseldorf

Düsseldorf, Germanyrace favourite Wilfred Kigen it was David Langat who took the honours in the 6th edition of the Metro Group Marathon Düsseldorf on Sunday (3).

The 29-year-old clocked 2:10:46, which is the second fastest ever run in Düsseldorf. While Langat missed the course record by 61 seconds Kigen had to be content with second place in 2:11:30. There was good news for German male Marathon running after many years when this discipline had been among the weakest in German athletics. André Pollmächer took third place with a personal best of 2:13:09, which is the fastest time by a German since the year 2000! As expected there was a German victory in the women’s race: Susanne Hahn clocked a personal best of 2:29:26.

Langat – pacemaker goes the distance

Langat had originally been signed as a pacemaker, but had indicated to the organisers that he would like to finish the race. “On the evening before the race I decided to go for the whole distance, because I knew that I was in shape. And additionally the weather forecast was good,” explained Langat, who earned 10,000 Euros in prize money in Düsseldorf. It was his first victory in a big marathon, but the Kenyan had been faster before. In Paris in 2006 he had placed with with a personal best of 2:08:58. “In the future I want to run in the region of 2:06 or 2:07. I hope to be able to run in the Berlin Marathon in September.”

In Düsseldorf it had looked as if much faster times were possible for most of the race. After a very fast beginning (30:12 minutes at 10 k) pacemakers guided Wilfred Kigen and David Langat through half way in 1:03:57. It was then Langat who kept the pace high, reaching 30 k in 1:31:09 with Kigen a step behind. At this stage they were still well on pace to smash the course record. But after Kigen had taken the lead for a shorter period first the pace dropped and then Kigen was dropped.

The Kenyan, who has a personal best of 2:07:33, picked up a calf muscle problem during the race. “I made signs that we should go together, but he he was no longer able to follow. I did not expect to win this race, because usually he is a very strong runner,” Langat said. The winner had also slowed in the final part of the race so that he missed Kenyan Bellor Yator’s course record.

There was a personal record for Pollmächer, who clocked 2:13:09 for third place, the fastest by a German in this millenium. It was Michael Fietz who had been the fastest marathoner nine years ago with 2:11:25.

“I felt fine today and surely there is more to come next time. I want to continue to improve,” said Pollmächer, who had run in the second group from the start of the race, passing half way in 1:06:07. Looking ahead to his next marathon he said: “The big goal this year obviously is the World Championships’ marathon in Berlin. But this will be a different race, because it will be about placings and not times.”

There were more good news for German marathon running at the Metro Group Marathon Düsseldorf, because Martin Beckmann came in sixth with a personal best of 2:13:42. “All the training we did together has paid off,” said Beckmann, who formed a training group with Falk Cierpinski and Tobias Sauter, who finished ninth with a personal best of 2:17:27. “Since I already had achieved the B standard for the World Championships there was not much to lose and I simply gave it a try,” commented Beckmann on his first sub 2:14 performance. Falk Cierpinski, the son of the double Olympic Marathon champion Waldemar, suffered from muscle problems and had to be content with eighth in 2:17:12.

“I had a hip problem during the final preparation period for Düsseldorf. So I could not train properly for five weeks. Under normal circumstances I could probably have run a personal best as well today,” said Cierpinski, who had improved to 2:13:30 in 2008. The three Germans – Pollmächer, Beckmann, Cierpinski – could achieve the best team result for a long time in the Marathon World Cup, which will be included into the Berlin World Championships’ race.

Hahn content with personal best – women’s race

In the women’s race defending champion Melanie Kraus was forced to drop out soon after the 5 k point because of a pulled leg muscle. It appears she had injured herself during the warm-up for the race. Kraus went straight back to her nearby home in Leverkusen for treatment.

“I was told that she was no longer in the race. Some tension was gone then but I think it had not much influence on my performance,” said Hahn, who dominated the race throughout and won comfortably with 2:29:26. At the half way point, which she had reached in 1:13:24, and beyond that a time of around 2:27 seemed to be possible for her.

“I had hoped for a better result, but at the end I was happy to have improved my personal best by seven seconds. All went well for 30 k, but then my legs became very heavy. I have never had that before in a Marathon, so it is another new experience,” said the 31-year-old, who won prize money of 7000 Euros. It was the second time she achieved a sub-2:30 result and Hahn clearly beat the German qualifying standard for the World Championships in Berlin (2:32).

While German debutant Melanie Schulz took second with 2:42:47, Sonja Oberem came in as a surprising third placer. Claudia Dreher had dropped out around the 15 k mark after going into the race with a foot injury. “I never expected to end up on the podium, but I knew about my position when I saw that Claudia had given up,” said Oberem, who had long ended her career and partly works for the organisation of the Metro Group Marathon Düsseldorf today – so there was double success for Oberem on Sunday.

Although organisiers had hoped for faster times the Metro Group Marathon Düsseldorf has taken over as Germany’s best quality spring Marathon. Adding other events around 10,000 entries from more than 65 nations were registered. About 400,000 spectators lined the loop course in fine weather conditions with temperatures around 15° Celsius.

Leading Results:

Men -
1. David Langat, KEN      2:10:46
2. Wilfred Kigen, KEN     2:11:30
3. André Pollmächer, GER  2:13:09
4. Edwin Kibowen, KEN     2:13:16
5. Andrej Gordeev, BLR    2:13:32
6. Martin Beckmann, GER   2:13:42
7. Richard Mutai, KEN     2:14:10
8. Falk Cierpinski, GER   2:17:12

Women -
1. Susanne Hahn, GER    2:29:26
2. Melanie Schulz, GER  2:42:47
3. Sonja Oberem, GER    2:43:49

Hannover Marathon just one second slower

There was another international German city Marathon in Hannover on Sunday. In a thrilling finish Evans Kipkosgei Rutto (Kenya) clocked 2:10:47 to deny his fellow countryman Julius Muriuki by one second. Muriuki had been signed as a pacemaker, but also ran the whole distance. Ethiopia’s Hussen Adem Jemal was third with 2:11:17. Fridah Jepkite Too (Kenya) won the women’s race in 2:35:47 from Ruth Wanjiru (Kenya/2:42:07).

Jörg Wenig for the IAAF