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In a close finish, Kenyan Evans Kipkosgei Ruto took the Cologne Marathon on Sunday with a course record of 2:08:36. Fellow Kenyan Samson Bungei was second just behind and he was given the same time. As expected Sabrina Mockenhaupt was the women’s winner in 2:30:12.
The Cologne Marathon is an IAAF Silver Label Road Race.
In its 13th edition the Cologne Marathon finally produced the first sub 2:10 times in the history of the event. Guided by pacemakers, a leading group of 19 runners had reached half way in a promising 1:04:05. With the exception of Aadam Khamis (Bahrain) all were Kenyans. Nine of them including Khamis then reached 30 kilometres in 1:31:41, still well on course for a sub-2:10 result. In the final part of the race it looked as if the Bahraini might be able to steal the show from the Kenyans. He was in the lead but was then caught soon after the 40 kilometre mark by Ruto and Bungei.
Bungei had won in Essen (Germany) this spring with 2:09:23, but this time he had to settle for second. It was Ruto – not to be confused with former world class marthon runner Evans Rutto – who beat him in the final sprint. With 2:08:36 Ruto broke 2:10 for the first time. He had already won another German marathon this year: in May he had taken the race in Hannover with a personal best of 2:10:48.
Rutto and Bungei were much faster than Sammy Kurgat’s course record from last year. The Kenyan had won in Cologne with 2:10:03 in 2008. Third placed Aadam Khamis broke 2:10 on Sunday as well. He clocked 2:09:09 and improved his personal best from Utrecht earlier this year by 92 seconds. Comfortable win for Mockenhaupt
Hopes for a course record in the women’s race did not materialize. Just six weeks after placing 17th at the World Championships in Berlin with 2:30:07 Mockenhaupt almost matched this result exactly in Cologne. Leading the race from the start there was no doubt that she would win this Marathon for a second time after 2007.
Guided by pacemakers Mockenhaupt reached the 10 kilometre mark in 35:07 and then passed the half marathon point in 1:14:01. While she slowed in the second half the course record (2:27:27 by Angelina Kanana in 1997) grew out of reach.
“I knew it was going to be difficult because there was so little time between the two marathons,” Mockenhaupt said. “It was hard to run against the wind and already after 10 k I was not feeling too good. At 15 k I knew I would not get the course record.”
Behind here there were large gaps. Kenyan Rose Nyangacha took second in 2:38:07 while her compatriot Prisca Kiprono came in third with 2:46:21.
10,300 runners entered the marathon. Including participants from other competitions the event had a record total of slightly over 32,000 entries.