Samwel Mailu wins the Vienna City Marathon (© VCM / Leo Hagen)
Kenya’s Bernard Koech won the men's race at the Haspa Marathon Hamburg in a course record of 2:04:09, while Dorcas Tuitoek completed a Kenyan double by winning the women’s race in 2:20:09 on Sunday (23).
Their compatriots Joshua Belet and Martin Kosgey took second and third in the men’s race with 2:04:33 and 2:06:18, respectively. Long-time leader Tiruye Mesfin of Ethiopia struggled in the final stages and despite falling, she still finished second in the women's race in 2:20:18, while Stella Chesang clocked 2:20:23 on her debut to break the Ugandan record.
In almost perfect conditions a leading group of 13 runners formed in the men’s race right after the start and they stayed together until the 27th kilometre. The half marathon mark was passed in 62:32, slightly off course record pace. But after 27km the pace of the leading group increased and Koech, Kosgey and Belet broke away. Kosgey dropped back right before the 35km mark and the decisive moment came when Koech left Belet behind.
Koech built on his lead and with 2:04:09 he improved the course record by 38 seconds.
With 2:04:33 for second place, Belet was also under the previous record, while Kosgey followed in 2:06:18.
Brazil’s Daniel Do Nascimento, who was among the pre-race favourites, finished fourth in 2:07:06.
“I ran a god race and I knew that I probably had to run a time around my PB to win,” said Koech. “I spoke with Eliud Kipchoge about the course before I came here and he gave me some advice.”
Kipchoge won his marathon debut in Hamburg back in 2013.
Kenya’s Rhonzai Lokitam Kilimo finished fifth in 2:08:08, the same time as Germany’s Richard Ringer – a PB for the latter, which is two seconds inside the Olympic qualifying time.
As expected, it was Mesfin who took the lead in the women’s race early on. But with a half marathon split of 69:46, she was not as fast as she had planned. The 2:17:23 course record was out of reach, but at 35km Mesfin looked a certain winner.
She was around a minute ahead of her rivals, but then disaster struck. The 20 year-old slowed and then stumbled, falling to the ground in the final kilometre. Behind her, Tuitoek saw her opportunity and found another gear to pass Mesfin around 300 metres from the finish line.
“I was really surprised to win. I did not see when Tiruye Mesfin fell, I was just fully focused on myself. I still had enough energy,” said 25-year-old Tuitoek, who had a PB of 2:24:54 before the race. “I knew that I could probably run a 2:20 time. This course is really fast and good for records.”
Organisers for World Athletics
1 Dorcas Tuitoek (KEN) 2:20:09
2 Tiruye Mesfin (ETH) 2:20:18
3 Stella Chesang (UGA) 2:20:23
4 Tsige Haileslase (ETH) 2:22:10
5 Marion Kibor (KEN) 2:22:35
6 Giovanna Epis (ITA) 2:23:46
7 Zenebu Bihonzg (ETH) 2:24:16
8 Fabienne Konigstein (GER) 2:25:48
1 Bernard Koech (KEN) 2:04:09
2 Joshua Belet (KEN) 2:04:33
3 Martin Kosgey (KEN) 2:06:18
4 Daniel Do Nascimento (BRA) 2:07:06
5 Rhonzai Lokitam Kilimo (KEN) 2:08:08
6 Richard Ringer (GER) 2:08:08
7 Martin Musau (UGA) 2:08:45
8 Haftom Welday (GER) 2:09:40
Mailu runs course record in Vienna jubilee race
Kenya’s Samwel Mailu smashed the nine-year-old course record of the Vienna City Marathon, running 2:05:08 at the World Athletics Elite Label road race on Sunday (23).
Despite warm conditions during the second half of the race, the 30-year-old was 33 seconds quicker than the former course record-holder Getu Feleke of Ethiopia, who clocked 2:05:41 in 2014. Mailu’s compatriots Bethwel Yegon and Titus Kimutai followed with 2:06:57 and 2:07:46 in second and third, respectively.
There was a Kenyan double as Magdalyne Masai won the women’s race in 2:24:12 from Agnes Keino, who ran 2:24:25. Ethiopia’s Gadise Mulu was third with 2:24:50.
With temperatures climbing to around 20°C in unexpectedly sunny conditions during the second half of the jubilee race, the men’s leading group ran a consistently fast pace. After a 29:43 10km split, a group of 11 runners including three pacemakers reached halfway in 62:43.
The pace continued to be fast and the group then partly broke up between 26km and 28km in the Prater Park, where Eliud Kipchoge broke the two-hour barrier in 2019.
There were still six runners in contention when the leaders reached 30km in 1:29:13 and it was an all-Kenyan affair: Yegon, Mailu, Kimutai, Joshua Kogo, Bernard Chepkwony and debutant Elvis Cheboi. The latter two then lost contact, while Mailu started to pull away.
Between 32-33km he had a lead of around 10 metres over Kimutai and another 15 metres over Yegon. While these gaps grew considerably in the final five kilometers, Yegon was able to overtake Kimutai for second place.
But there was no way of catching Mailu, who ran an unexpected marathon debut in Frankfurt last year. He was a pacemaker but then continued to run and finished second with 2:07:19.
“The race in Frankfurt gave me a lot of motivation,” he said. “For me, today was kind of another marathon debut. This was my biggest career win.”
In contrast, the women never really started the planned attack on the course record. With slower split times than expected, there were initially 11 runners in the first group. Once the pace picked up a bit the group was reduced to seven at the 10km mark (33:48). Six women then reached halfway in 72:04: Kenyans Viseline Jepkesho, Masai, Rebecca Tanui and Keino as well as Ethiopians Mulu and Nurit Shimels. Tanui and Shimels were then dropped while the other four passed the 30km mark in 1:41:58.
With little over seven kilometers to go, Keino made a move in the Prater Park. The winner of last year’s Munich Marathon was around 15 metres ahead of Masai, but she could not increase her advantage. Instead, Masai responded and overtook her Kenyan rival soon afterwards.
“It was a perfect race for me,” said Masai, who is the younger sister of 2009 world 10,000m champion Linet Masai and 2009 world 10,000m bronze medallist Moses Masai. “I ran well and had some energy left for the last couple of kilometres. I have prepared for the Vienna City Marathon since January. I am very happy to have won, but I would have like to run a bit faster than 2:24.”
Organisers for World Athletics
1 Magdalyne Masai (KEN) 2:24:12
2 Agnes Keino (KEN) 2:24:25
3 Gadise Mulu (ETH) 2:24:50
4 Rebecca Tanui (KEN) 2:26:34
5 Visiline Jepkesho (KEN) 2:27:13
6 Caroline Jepchirchir (KEN) 2:27:46
7 Angelika Mach (POL) 2:30:05
8 Julia Mayer (AUT) 2:30:42
1 Samwel Mailu KEN 2:05:08
2 Bethwel Yegon KEN 2:06:57
3 Titus Kimutai KEN 2:07:46
4 Joshua Kogo KEN 2:08:39
5 Dominic Letting KEN 2:09:16
6 Joel Melly KEN 2:09:57
7 Elvis Cheboi KEN 2:10:21
8 Sondre Nordstad Moen NOR 2:10:23