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.”

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Frankfurt, Germany, October 28 (loop)—


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.


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).