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News Archive

Kenyans continue to dominate

The Kenyans were slowed by the worst sort of “April Weather“ as it

is called in Germany – but still there was no way stopping them on their

way to yet another great triumph on Berlins roads. The Bewag BERLIN HALF

MARATHON seems to be their race.

Last year they took a record first 13 places, this time they took the first

eight. Though also the sun was shining for short times it seemed to be much

harder for the Kenyans to fight against winds, snow showers and even hail than

against other runners. Although conditions were so difficult Paul Kirui ran a

smashing time of 61:05 minutes, which is the seventh fastest of the year and

the sixth fastest in the history of the race. It was the seventh time in nine

years that the winner was a Kenyan. And in the womens race Magdaline Chemjor

managed the fifth consecutive win for Kenya. The 24-year-old ran 71:12 minutes.

Altogether 17,692 runners from 63 nations took part in the Bewag BERLIN HALF

MARATHON. Among them were 13,948 runners, 2,003 skaters, 237 walkers, six

wheelchair athletes, 1,287 runners in the 4 k race and 211 children, who were

running about 800 metres already on Saturday. “Despite the strange

weather we managed to organize a great event. And surprisingly quite a number

of runners recorded personal best times. With a 20 percent increase on

participants we can be very happy“, race director Horst Milde said.

“For the first five kilometres it was only about warming up. We ran as

we are used to in training“, Paul Kirui said. That was when Janne Holmen

was leading the race. “I was trying to run my own pace throughout the

race. But in the later stages it was difficult because of the wind – I

had hoped for a faster time“, the Finnish surprise of the European

Championships said. It was in Munich last year, when Janne Holmen won the

marathon. In Berlin he was again the best of the Europeans, but the competition

was of course less strong. Finally in 9th place Holmen ran 64:20. He will not

run a marathon in spring but plans to do one in autumn. “Very sudden the

race became much faster“, Janne Holmen recalled. He immediately lost

contact. That was at around 6 k, when the Kenyans decided that it was enough

warming up now.

Paul Kirui and James

Kwambai, who both had travelled to Berlin from Dr. Rosas training camp near

Brescia, strongly increased the pace and the leading group of nine athletes

broke up. After the slow pace with split times of more than three minutes for

the first few kilometres, splits were suddenly around ten seconds faster. While

the 5 k point was reached after 14:56 minutes, the next five kilometres were

run in 14:05 (29:00 for 10 k). Robert Cheboror, who later snatched second place

one second ahead of Kwambai in 61:55, ran in a small group with Isaac Macharia

and Christopher Torotich ten seconds behind the leading duo. Kirui and Kwambai

kept the pace high, but between 13 and 14 k on Berlins famous shopping mile

Kurfürstendamm Kirui left behind his last rival. Reaching the 15 k point

in 43:07 minutes, the 23-year-old seemed to be even on course for the fastest

time of the year so far (60:21). “But instead of fighting against my

rivals I had to fight against the wind“, Kirui said. He slowed and just

missed a time sub 61 minutes in the end. “I had really hoped for good

weather. And I think in better conditions I might have been able to run about

45 seconds faster.“

Still Paul Kirui was happy. “This was my biggest success so

far“, he said, after reaching the finish just in time before it started

to hail for the first time. At school the athlete from Eldoret had not much

interest in running. “I was playing football in my schooldays, wearing

the shirt with number 11 on it.“ It was after school, when he joined a

training group. Three years ago Dr. Gabriele Rosa brought him to Europe for the

first time. Could Paul Kirui become Rosas next strong marathon runner? “I

have not yet decided when I might move up to the marathon – at present

the half marathon is my favourite distance.“

In the womens race

Magdaline Chemjor was setting the pace right from the beginning. Having reached

5 k after 16:31 minutes, Lenah Cheruiyot was still in a group with some men,

led by Chemjor. Having won the 25 k race for the last two years the Kenyan is

quite familiar with the Berlin roads. “It is a pitty that the weather was

so bad, because it is a fast course. And I had hoped to run between 68 and 69

minutes“, Chemjor said. Already at 10 k (32:56) she was 29 seconds clear

of Cheruiyot. In the end she was 48 seconds ahead of Cheruiyot (72:00).

Slightly limping after finishing, Chemjor was not suffering of a muscle injury.

“I was running with new shoes“, Chemjor surprisingly admitted.

Normally joggers are always taught not to do so, but it seems to be not that

unusual for some elite athletes. It was last year in Berlin when Naoko

Takahashi revealed that she had won the real,- BERLIN MARATHON wearing new

shoes. For Chemjor the new shoes caused some problems during the last part of

the race. “I had some pressure on my instep. But that was not the reason

for slowing in the last part of the race – I slowed because of the

snow.“ There shouldn be snow next month, when Magdaline Chemjor intends

to come back to Berlin for the 25 k race.

While Joyce Chepchumba had cancelled her start due to a cold, Rodgers Rop

and Christopher Cheboibok withdrew because of the bad weather. The Boston and

New York Marathon winner Rop had come with Cheboibok to their Detmold training

base from Kenya just a couple of days ago. When they awoke on Saturday morning

the surroundings were all covered with snow. They then decided not to travel to

Berlin, fearing they might catch a cold. “Of course it is a blow for us.

But I can understand this, because for them the Boston Marathon is the real

important race“, Mark Milde, Berlins elite manager, said.

 

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