Frankfurt Marathon — A Pair Of Ethiopian Wins

Meskerem Assefa lowered her PR to 2:20:36 in taking the women’s race. (VICTOR SAILER/PHOTO RUN)

Frankfurt, October 28—The women’s field in the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon held onto the concept of a fast time for much longer than the men, passing the half in 69:55 and staying on sub-2:20 pace through 30K. Not long after 35K the lead pack boiled down to four Ethiopians: Meskerem Assefa, Dera Dida, 19-year-old Bedatu Hirpa and Haftamnesh Tesfay. The 33-year-old Assefa, the 3rd-placer a year ago, made the crucial move in the final K.

“I did not really feel the wind,” she said of her course record 2:20:36, admitting she had only been hoping for a 2:22. “I had to run a little bit quicker for 1st place.” It was the winner’s second PR of the year, improving the 2:21:45 she ran in Nagoya in March. Tesfay (2:20:47) also dipped under the old course record, while Hirpa’s 2:21:32 moved her to No. 2 on the all-time world Junior list, missing the WJR by 33 seconds. American Lindsay Flanagan in 13th knocked 3 seconds off her PR with a 2:29:25. Sara Hall, hampered by a strained peroneal tendon, dropped out.

When the going got tough on the men’s side, Kelkile Gezahegn went tactical. The 22-year-old Ethiopian ran as part of a pack of 12 through halfway, a nice tailwind helping them to a 62:27 split. A few miles later, however, the course turned back into the breeze. That’s when Gezahegn and Kenyan Martin Kosgey decided to make a break.

Fighting into the wind, Gezahegn decided a fast time wasn’t going to happen. So he slipped into tactical gear and let Kosgey break the way. “I wanted to run 2:04 but then I realized it was getting tough for everyone,” Gezahegn explained. “We weren’t going to run a super-fast time so I gave everything I had to win and it paid off.”

With 500m left, he sprinted past Kosgey and led to the finish, 2:06:37 to 2:06:41. In 6th, Kenyan Mark Kiptoo, 42, set a new world masters record with his 2:07:50. Kiptoo, who didn’t take up the marathon until he was 37, said, “For sure I want to keep pushing and believe I can still go faster. Today 2:05–2:06 was possible but the wind in the second part of the race made it hard. I was aware of the record but my goal was also to try to win the race. Once the leaders had got away I was still fighting for every position and it was nice that this assisted me to achieve the record.”

Check out Photo Run’s Frankfurt Marathon gallery here Click here to view race highlight video

FRANKFURT MARATHON RESULTS

Frankfurt, Germany, October 28 (loop)—

Men:

1. Kelkile Gezahegn (Eth) 2:06:37; 2. Martin Kosgey (Ken) 2:06:41 PR; 3. Alex Kibet (Ken) 2:07:09 PR; 4. Amos Mitei (Ken) 2:07:28 PR; 5. Kenneth Keter (Ken) 2:07:34 PR; 6. Mark Kiptoo (Ken) 2:07:50 (world masters record); 7. Asefa Tefera (Eth) 2:08:34 PR; 8. Tsedat Ayana (Eth) 2:09:39; 9. Arne Gabius (Ger) 2:11:45; 10. Vincent Yator (Ken) 2:12:03;… 40. David Kiplagat (US) 2:23:50.

Women:

1. Meskerem Assefa (Eth) 2:20:36 PR (course record—old cr 2:21:01 Meselech Melkamu [Eth] ’12); 2. Haftamnesh Tesfay (Eth) 2:20:47;

3. Bedatu Hirpa (Eth) 2:21:32 PR (WJL) (2, 2 WJ);

4. Belaynesh Oljira (Eth) 2:21:53 PR; 5. Dera Dida (Eth) 2:22:39; 6. Sintayehu Hailemichael (Eth) 2:22:45 PR; 7. Nancy Kiprop (Ken) 2:22:46 PR; 8. Betsy Saina (Ken) 2:24:35; 9. Stellah Barsosio (Ken) 2:25:00; 10. Abebech Afework (Eth) 2:25:17;

11. Mare Dibaba (Eth) 2:25:24; 12. Worknesh Alemu (Eth) 2:26:50; 13. Lindsay Flanagan (US) 2:29:25 PR; 14. Katharina Heinig (Ger) 2:29:55;… 16. Danna Herrick (US) 2:32:19;… 28. Rosie Edwards (US) 2:40:49… dnf—Sara Hall (US).

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