Reason to smile: David Mandago wins in Hamburg (/Bongarts) © Copyright
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Mandago, Timofeyeva impress at Hamburg Marathon

David Mandago was the men’s winner in Sunday’s Conergy Hamburg Marathon while Irina Timofeyeva broke the course record in the women’s race. The Kenyan ran 2:07:23 and the Russian clocked 2:24:14 to improve the former mark by 21 seconds. Katrin Dörre (Germany) and Robe Tola (Ethiopia) had clocked 2:24:35 in the years 1999 and 2006 respectively.

The Conergy Hamburg Marathon is an IAAF Silver Label Road Race.

Despite the course record in the women’s race it was the men’s event that produced the best results of the day. In fine weather conditions a big group of almost 20 runners had reached the half way mark in 1:03:17. Among them was the four-time Hamburg champion Julio Rey of Spain. Having won in 2001, 2003, 2005 and two years ago, when he established the present course record of 2:06:52 (also his national record), the Spaniard was seen as the favourite again. But at 25 km he had lost lost contact with the leading group. Rey finally only finished a well-beated16th with 2:13:20. He later explained to German TV station NDR that he had felt fine but then developed a leg problem during the race.

Mandago decisively broke away after the 35 km mark.

“I did not expect to win here and did not think it would become such a fast race,” the Kenyan said when interviewed by NDR.

Once again Wilfred Kigen missed out on a Hamburg victory. As in 2007 the Kenyan, who is the triple winner of the Frankfurt Marathon, was second. While Rodgers Rop (Kenya) had beaten him in a sprint finish a year ago this time he was 25 seconds behind the winner with 2:07:48. Ethiopia’s Tariku Jufar was third with 2:08:10.

Germany’s Falk Cierpinski did well although he missed the qualifying time for the Beijing Olympics. The son of the double Olympic marathon champion Waldemar Cierpinski so far had a personal best of 2:19:06. Now he improved to 2:15:48 in 22nd place. Cierpinski had run the first half in 1:06:03 aiming for the 2:13 the German demands for selection. Although he missed this time he has now established himself as Germany’s number one marathon runner. And there is room for further improvement.

Solid run by Timofeyeva

Timofeyeva not only broke the course record but also her personal best. Back in 2001 the Russian had run 2:25:29. In Hamburg the 38-year-old had passed half way in a leading group after 1:11:47. At the end she was more than four minutes ahead of second placed Pamela Chepchumba (Kenya/2:28:36) and Asha Gigi (Ethiopia/2:29:28), who had both been with her after the first half.

“It was a hard race, especially on the final 10 km. But the spectators helped me,” Timofeyeva told NDR after recovering from stomach cramps after finishing.

Disaster struck Ulrike Maisch in the fight for Olympic selection. The surprise winner of the European Championships in 2006 gave up after only 16 km stating with disappointment that her legs felt as heavy as never before in such a race.

In all, 23,230 runners had registered for Germany’s second biggest marathon behind only Berlin.

Jörg Wenig for the IAAF

Leading Results:
Men -
1. David Mandago, KEN  2:07:23
2. Wilfred Kigen, KEN  2:07:48
3. Tariku Jufar, ETH  2:08:10
4. Tessema Abshior, ETH  2:08:26
5. Sammy Kurgat, KEN  2:08:55
6. Laban Kipkemboi, KEN  2:09:46

Women -
1. Irina Timofeyeva, RUS 2.24:14
2. Pamela Chepchumba, KEN  2:28:36
3. Asha Gigi, ETH  2:29:28
4. Yesenia Centeno, ESP  2:31:16