Souad Ait Salem winning at the 2014 TUI Marathon Hannover (© TUI Marathon Hannover / Thomas Wenning)
Benjamin Kiptoo will head the men’s field at the 2015 HAJ Marathon Hannover on 19 April, while defending women’s champion Souad Ait Salem will return, organisers for the IAAF Silver Label Road Race announced on Thursday (12).
Kiptoo has the fastest personal best in the field with 2:06:31, from when he won the 2011 Paris Marathon.
The Kenyan has also won two more marathons with times faster than 2:08. In 2009, he was the winner in Rome in 2:07:17 while a year later he triumphed in the South Korean city of Chuncheon with 2:07:54. The 36 year-old has not been close to those results recently but, nevertheless, the fast course in Hannover will provide a fine opportunity for fast times.
His compatriot Josphat Ndambiri has only run one marathon so far in his career, and that was a several years ago, but he enjoyed a perfect debut when he took the Fukuoka Marathon in 2011 with 2:07:36.
After struggling to find his best form due to injuries in recent years, the 2007 World Championships 10,000m fifth-place finisher is hoping to make a good comeback in Hannover.
But Ronald Korir might be the man to beat. The Kenyan entered last year’s Frankfurt Marathon as a pace maker but, after leading the front men to the 35km point, he continued and finished sixth with 2:07:29 on his debut at the distance.
Jacob Cheshari is another Kenyan on Hannover’s start list who has already run faster than 2:08. He was fourth in Frankfurt two years ago with 2:07:46.
Falk Cierpinski, who has a best of 2:13:30, carries domestic hopes in the men’s race and in the women’s event Lisa Hahner, twin sister of the reigning Vienna Marathon champion Anna Hahner, is the top local pick.
A year ago, she had to drop out of the Hannover race due to a foot injury. “This time I am fit, there are no problems so far," said Hahner. "It is my aim to go under 2:30."
The 25 year-old, who just returned from altitude training in Ethiopia together with her sister, has a personal best of 2:30:17 from the 2013 Frankfurt race.
In 2014, 2:33:09 was enough for Souad Ait Salem to win the Hannover women’s race but it is likely she will have to run quite a bit faster if she is to successfully defend her title. The 36 year-old Algerian marathon record-holder has a personal best of 2:25:08.
Ukraine’s Olha Kotovska, who took the Rennes Marathon last year with 2:28:47, and Ethiopia’s Shuko Genemo, who has a best of 2:31:09, could be contenders for the win as well.
Organisers for the IAAF