WRITTEN FOR ATHLETICS WEEKLY MAGAZINE
Kenyan duo scorch to course records
The 29th edition of Germany’s oldest marathon witnessed two spectacular course records in the strongest fields ever assembled in this IAAF Gold Label race, as a plethora of superfast Africans descended on the city, writes Nicola Bamford in Frankfurt.
Eager to see its first sub-2:06 clocking, the Frankfurt organisers were treated to a glittering 2:04.57 performance from Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang, who ripped over two-minutes from his lifetime best to go tenth on the World all-time list, improving the course record by 1:17 and registering the third-fastest time of 2010 in the process.
Celebrating his 23rd birthday, Ethiopia’s Tadese Tola – the 2010 Paris marathon winner - clocked 2:06.31 to set a ten-second personal best, whilst Kenya’s Elijah Chelimo – 26 and fourth here last year - broke his best mark by over one minute with 2:07.04 for third.
The trio were always to the fore of the field and passed the halfway mark in 1:02.38 (2:05.15 pace) before the 28-year-old Kipsang – third on his marathon debut in Paris with 2:07.10 earlier this year – pushed clear to become the ninth Kenyan victor of this event with a glorious finish inside the concert-like Festhalle on a red carpet to collect his 90,000 Euro prize.
In her third career marathon, 29-year-old Caroline Kilel was equally impressive taking the women’s race in 2:23.25.
Breaking her lifetime best by almost two-minutes and taking almost the same from the five-year-old course record, the Kenyan looked strong throughout to come home ahead of Ethiopia’s Dire Tune (2:23.44) and reigning champion Agnes Kiprop of Kenya in third (2:24.07) – both also shattering their personal bests.
Reaching halfway in 70:59 (2:21.58 pace), the field slowed but Kilel put in a determined display to pull comfortably clear of Tune - the recent runner-up in the World half-marathon championships and the 2008 Boston marathon champion – and Kiprop, who has recently recovered from a hamstring injury to make a surprising comeback after a conservative first half.