Ulrike Maisch wins the Berlin 10 K (berlin-runs.com/J. Engler) © Copyright
Preview 25 April 2009 – Hamburg, Germany

Maisch hoping for comeback on Sunday – Hamburg Marathon PREVIEW

Hamburg, GermanyKenyans Joseph Riri and Daniel Cheribo plus Germany’s European Champion Ulrike Maisch and Emily Kimurya of Kenya will be the main contenders in Sunday’s (26) Hamburg Marathon.

The Hamburg Marathon is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.

For the 24th edition 20,185 runners have entered Germany’s second biggest marathon behind Berlin. Around 800,000 spectators are expected to line the streets.

In the men’s race two Kenyans, who have done very well some years ago, look to be the favourites. Riri is the fastest in the field with a personal best of 2:06:49 from Berlin in 2004. Now 35 years old, the Kenyan had been second in Berlin. A year later Riri won the Lake Biwa Marathon in 2:09:00, which remains his second fastest ever and the only other race besides Berlin where he ran sub 2:10.

Cheribo’s personal best stands at 2:08:38. With this he won the Milan City Marathon in 2004. But after that big win the 28-year-old could not record anything similar. Unknown Ethiopian Adelo Roba could cause an upset to the two Kenyans. It remains to be seen if hopes of the organisers of getting a 2:08 winning time materialises on the fast course on Sunday.

Maisch, who signed a four year deal with the Hamburg Marathon after sensationally taking the European title in Gothenburg in 2006, will be the favourite together with Kenyan Kimurya. But the German has not had much luck over the last two years. That especially refers to the Hamburg Marathon. In 2007 she had to cancel her start because of an injury and a year ago she dropped out after 16km because of an injury and a health problem.

“This year it has to get better,” Maisch said. “I want to achieve the German qualifying standard for the World Championships and will run at this pace.” She will have to run 2:32:00 or faster to make the Berlin team. While her personal best from Gothenburgh stands at 2:30:01 Maisch has not broken 2:32 since then. The only Marathon race that went okay since her European triumph was in Frankfurt in 2007, where she finished sixth in 2:32:41.

Maisch’s main contender on Sunday has broken 2:30 before: Kimurya has a personal best of 2:28:19 and won in Hamburg in 2004.

The Hamburg Marathon used to produce some very strong results in the past, but organisers faced the problem of losing their title sponsor last year. It was only at the very last moment that a furniture company (Möbel Kraft) jumped in.

Jörg Wenig for the IAAF