Haile Gebrselassie took the real- Berlin Marathon
in 2:06:08, missing his own world record of 2:03:59 after slowing
considerably during the final seven kilometers Sunday.
But the great Ethiopian still broke a world record in the German
capital. He had passed the 30km mark in 1:27:49. This time is still
unofficial since official hand timing results were not available
immediately after the race. Berlin race director Mark Milde had
foreseen the possibility of a 30km record and had placed official
timekeepers at that mark.
While Haile Gebrselassie became the
first runner to win the Berlin Marathon for a fourth time (Uta Pippig,
Renata Kokowska and Ingo Sensburg have three wins) Atsede Besuye made
it an Ethiopian double triumph in Berlin. She took the women's race in
a personal best of 2:24:47. Silvia Skvortsova (Russia) finished second
with 2:26:24, while Mamitu Daska (Ethiopia) took third in her debut in
The much anticipated duel between Duncan Kibet
(Kenya), who remained the world leader this year with his 2:04:27 from
Rotterdam, and Haile Gebrselassie had come to an early end, when the
Kenyan dropped out after 30k. He had lost contact with the World record
holder earlier in the race.
A record number of 40,923 runners
from 122 nations had entered the 36th edition of the Berlin Marathon.
Around one million spectators lined the streets. Weather conditions
were very good for much of the race, though it got warm during the
final stages with temperatures above 20° Celsius in the sun.
group of seven pacemakers guided the two favorites Haile Gebrselassie
and Duncan Kibet to split times that were well in schedule for a world
record. The leading group passed 10km in 29:15 and 15 k in 43:58
minutes. This pace as well as the half marathon time of 61:44 minutes
was good for an estimated finish of 2:03:30. But before the half way
point was reached there was a surprise. From 19 kilometers onwards
Duncan Kibet could no longer keep up with the speed of the leading
group. He dropped back further and further and finally ended his race
at the 32km point. Kibet suffered a hip problem which he developed
during the race.
But Kibet’s problems had no influence on the
pace of the leading group. Especially Kenyan half marathon runners John
Kales and Sammy Kosgei did a great job, constantly clocking kilometre
splits of around 2:55, 2:56 minutes.
The 30km point was
reached after 1:27:49. While Kales had stopped his peacemaking job at
29km Kosgei carried on to 32km. It was shortly afterwards when
Gebrselassie suddenly ran into problems, which had nothing to do with
the withdrawal of the pacers. The Ethiopian’s step looked much heavier
during the final seven kilometers. Now Gebrselassie needed well over
three minutes for a kilometer. The 40th kilometer was probably the
slowest he ever ran in a marathon: 3:19 minutes.
But at that time the World record had been out of reach for a while.
after 33 kilometers I knew that I would not be able to break my world
record today," confirmed the winner. "It simply got too warm. Suddenly
I felt very tired, although I had been very well prepared for this
race. But I have learnt today that it is not possible to run a world
record in temperatures of 17 degrees Celsius or more. It may have been
a bit of a mental problem as well. My head said to my body that it is
getting too hard now. It felt as if I would run into unknown
territory,” confirmed Gebrselassie, who earned 50,000 Euros for the win
plus 30,000 of time bonuses.
Then he turned to Mark Milde and said: “If Mark would allow me to come back next year I will be back!”
if he might give up on attempting attacking his world record in future
Gebrselassie answered: “Come on, this is not a serious question. I will
not stay home and sleep!” Talking about his future goals before the
race Haile Gebrselassie had said: “I want to further improve my world
record and win the gold at the London Olympics in 2012.”
Kiprop meanwhile had shown a very strong race in Berlin on Sunday, when
he was the fastest runner of the field in the second half. He covered
this part in 62:46 minutes and achieved a personal best of 2:07:04.
After the 35km mark it looked as if Kiprop might be even in for a major
upset. At 25km he had still been 2:28 minutes behind Gebrselassie, but
at 35km the Ethiopian’s advantage had been cut to 1:35. But then Kiprop
could not quite keep his pace as well and so in the finish 56 seconds
separated the two. Though when Gebrselassie learnt at the press
conference how well Kiprop had done he congratulated Francis Kiprop and
said: “You should have run with me!”
“Running in the chasing
group we were a bit too slow in the first part, so I was not able to
catch Haile,” said 27-year-old Kiprop. “But nonetheless I am satisfied,
because I clocked a personal best.” The Kenyan had travelled to Berlin
with a PB of 2:08:30.
As expected the Ethiopian women dominated
the race in Berlin. But as in the men’s race there was an unexpected
casualty of a favourite: Ethiopia’s Askale Tafa Magarsa, who had
clocked a PB of 2:21:31 behind Irina Mikitenko (Germany) in last year’s
race in Berlin, and at first had been in the leading group. But at half
way she was already more than a minute behind. Shortly afterwards she
dropped out. The three Ethiopian leaders – Genet Getaneh, Atsede
Habtamu and Mamitu Daska – reached that point in 1:12:29.
the 30km mark Mamitu Daska dropped back first, then five kilometers
later Atsede was all on her own, when she had left Getaneh behind as
well. The 21-year-old took the race with a personal best of 2:24:47.
was plenty of action behind her, where Russia’s Silvia Skvortsova made
up a lot of ground and came through to second in 2:26:24. While Mamitu
Daska was third (2:26:38) Italy’s Rosaria Console also finished
strongly, taking fourth place with 2:26:45. The first four women
clocked personal bests.
"I am happy to have reached my goal
and achieved a time of sub 2:25. From 30 k onwards I had problems with
my left big toe, but despite this I felt strong and confident,” said
Atsede Habtamu. (IAAF)
Ethiopia’s Imane Merga, who won the 5000m men’s race in the Greek city Thessalonica, will run in the 20th Memorial Peppe Greco, the famous 10km road race to be held in the Sicilian city of Scicly on Sunday night.
Imane has been one of the rising stars of this season, as he was 4th in the worlds’ 10,000m in the IAAF world championship in Berlin. Race organizers predicted that Imane will be a tough competitor to Kenyan 3000m steeplechase winners.
Also from Ethiopia comes also Feleke Cherkos, 2008 world junior champion on the 5000m, who in 2006 as a youth ran 3000m in 7:32.37 and 5000m in 12:54.19.
One month ago they finished first-second in the 3000m steeplechase at the IAAF world championships in Athletics in Berlin. On Saturday night, Kenya’s Ezekiel Kemboi and Richard Mateelong will try to dominate on the flat road.
Kemboi and Mateelong are two of the protagonists of the “stellar field” that organizer Gianni Voi has built up as usual. Haile Gebrselassie (four times), Paul Tergat and Martin Lel (twice), Kenenisa Bekele, Charles Kamathi are among the former winners of the Peppe Greco.
Nether Kemboi or Mateelong need presentation to athletics’ lovers, as the former was also the 2004 Olympic champion and three times runner-up at the World Champs, while the later has two World bronze medals at Osaka 2007 and Beijing 2008.
Contesting the victory with the steeplechasers wearing bib number 1 will be Edwin Soi, the Olympic 5000m bronze medalist, who last year won the beating the World marathon champion Samuel Wanjiru. Soi didn’t qualify for Berlin, as he closed the Kenyan Trials in 4th place, but in Zurich one month ago he ran a strong 12:55.03.
But the greatest favorite of all is of course, Micah Kogo, the World record holder for the 10km distance. He ran a stunning 27:01 in Brunssum on 3 March, improving by one second the previous time by Haile Gebrselassie. He closed in 7th place in the 10,000m in Berlin, but at the World Athletics Final in Thessaloniki he took second place in the 5000m in a blanket finish ahead of Soi.
Stefano Baldini, the home-hero, the former Olympic marathon champion is also entered. Baldini has run many times in Sicily and the crowd simply adore him. After his Athens Olympic victory he was beaten by Sileshi Sihine in 2004, but one year later he won ahead of Paul Kirui. Last year we closed in 5th place.