Joseph Kiprono Kiptum (r) just edges Mergesa Bacha to win the 2012 Hannover Marathon (© Organisers)
The TUI Marathon Hannover, an IAAF Bronze Label Road Race, will see a duel of two champions on May 5 as Kenya’s defending champion Joseph Kiptum returns to face 2011 winner Lusapho April of South Africa.
Defending champion Kiptum will be eager to show his full potential in Hannover this time. Despite suffering from stomach pains in last year’s race, he won in a thrilling finish to just edge out Ethiopia’s Megersa Bacha Chikuala as both were given the same time of 2:09:56. This time Kiptum’s goal will be the course record of 2:08:52.
Like Kiptum, April also set his current PB when winning in Hannover, although his time was more than half a minute faster, 2:09:25. Having represented South Africa in the Marathon at last year’s Olympics in London, April is keen to return to the site of his last Marathon victory.
Although the past two champions will return, the fastest runner in the field will be Wilfred Kigen. The Kenyan – who set his PB of 2:07:33 in Hamburg in 2007 – will be competing in Hannover for the first time, but he has a fine record of competing in Germany cities.
Between 2005 and 2007 he won the Frankfurt Marathon three times in a row, breaking the course record on two of those occasions. He also won the Hamburg Marathon in 2010, having finished second at that race on three previous occasions. Although 38 years old now, Kigen is still running well, clocking 2:10:17 in Frankfurt in October 2011.
There are two other Kenyans to watch. David Kisang will come to Hannover with a PB of 2:08:54 and Wesley Kibett Langat, who won the 2012 Nairobi Marathon, clocking 2:10:40 at high altitude.
Meanwhile, the target in the women’s race will be to finally push the course record under 2:30, and hopes are high for two Kenyan women in particular.
Julia Muraga, who finished 11th at the 2009 World Championships, has a personal best of 2:26:00. Although that time was set back in 2008, she finished second in Osaka last year and won in Reims in 2011.
But compatriot Mercy Kibarus could be the surprise package. So far her career best stands at just 2:44:56, but she has improved significantly since then, clocking 68:18 at the Roma-Ostia Half Marathon where she finished fifth.
Organisers for the IAAF