A record total of 15,456runners had entered the various running events of the TUI Hanove rMarathon. Around 150,000 spectators lined the course in very good weather conditions for marathon running. The TUI Hanover Marathon is an IAAF Bronze Label Race.
In the men’s race somehow the pacemakers did not stick to the schedule. It had been planned to attac kthe course record of 2:08:52 with a half marathon split time of around 64:00 minutes but the pace was much too slow. A leading group of nine runners passed this point in 65:45 minutes. At 30 k(1:33:25) all nine were still in the group and it was only in the final seven kilometres that the Kenyans and Ethiopians really started racing. Whiles plit times suggested a finishing time of just under 2:12 at this point in the end the first two still managed to go sub 2:10.
Soon after 35 k four runners were in the lead: Kenyans Joseph Kiptum andPeter Kirui as well as Ethiopians Megersa Bacha Chikuala and Abdisa SoriBedada. It was then Kiptum who surged ahead at 41 k and opened a gap ofalmost 15metres. But Chikuala was able toclose that gap and once they reached the finishing straight they werenext to each other. On the final 250 metres thelead changed a couple of times and in the end Kiptum was just ahead. Thebattle for third also ended with a Kenyan in front: Kurui clocked2:10:09while Bedada was fourth with 2:10:15. Tamrat Bekele, a youngerbrother of long distance superstar Kenenisa Bekele, took fifth in hisdebut with 2:11:11.Kenenisa Bekele had paid the flight for his brother to get him into therace.
For Joseph Kiptum it was somehow good fortune that the pacehad been much slower than expected. “I had a stomach problem and if theywould have run faster I would not have been able to go with the leadinggroup,” explained the 24 year-old, who had to vomit twice during hisrace. Despite this he not only won but also improved his personal bestin his second marathon by eleven seconds. “Last night I could not sleep.So at around 3 am inthe morning I ate some bananas. Somehow something went wrong. But I amvery happy that I still won,” said Joseph Kiptum.
Inthe women’s race Natalya Puchkova was well ahead early in the race. Incontrast to their normal race tactics the Ethiopians opted for a muchslower start. At the half marathon mark the 25 year-old Russian had anadvantage of exactly one minute, when she passed this point in1:13:47. Agroup with five Ethiopians only started chasing her after the gap hadincreased to 1:15minutes at 30 k. While Puchkova, who had entered the event with apersonal best of 2:33:03, slowed her advantage wasgetting smaller and smaller. When the Russian entered the finishingstraight she was still quite a bit ahead of Aberume Mekuria. TheEthiopian then mounted a final attack and sprinted towards NatalyaPuchkova. But she could not quite overtake her in the end.
Behind Puchkova and Mekuria two Ethiopians took third andfourth: Halima Hassen Beriso (2:30:26) and Zeineba Hasso Hayato(2:30:27).Bernadette Pichlmaier was the fastest German in tenth place(2:38:17),followed by Katharina Heinig (2:39:03) in eleventh. The 22 year-olddaughter of Katrin Dörre-Heinig broke 2:40 for the first time. She hadbeen on course for a time of around 2:36, but then had problems in thefinal 10 k.
More information about the TUI Marathon Hannover is available online at: www.marathon-hannover.de