FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Joseph Kiptum and Natalya Puchkova Take Hanover After Thrilling Finishes
Two thrilling finishes that went right to the wire marked the TUI Marathon
Hanover on Sunday. In the men's race a fascinating battle for victory ended
with a triumph for Joseph Kiptum (Kenya), who just held off Ethiopia's
Megersa Bacha Chikuala. Both clocked 2:09:56. Little more than 20 minutes
later spectators witnessed another finish where the first two were given
the same time. Here the winner was Russia's Natalya Puchkova with a course
record of 2:30:17. She had a big lead during the race which was reduced to
just one step shortly before the finish line. But Aberume Mekuria
(Ethiopia) did not quite manage to overtake her.
A record total of 15,456 runners had entered the various running events of
the TUI Hanover Marathon. 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 attack the 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.
While split 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 and
Peter Kirui as well as Ethiopians Megersa Bacha Chikuala and Abdisa Sori
Bedada. It was then Kiptum who surged ahead at 41 k and opened a gap of
almost 15 metres. But Chikuala was able to close that gap and once they
reached the finishing straight they were next to each other. On the final
250 metres the lead changed a couple of times and in the end Kiptum was
just ahead. The battle for third also ended with a Kenyan in front: Kurui
clocked 2:10:09 while Bedada was fourth with 2:10:15. Tamrat Bekele, a
younger brother of long distance superstar Kenenisa Bekele, took fifth in
his debut with 2:11:11. Kenenisa Bekele had paid the flight for his brother
to get him into the race.
For Joseph Kiptum it was somehow good fortune that the pace had been much
slower than expected. "I had a stomach problem and if they would have run
faster I would not have been able to go with the leading group," explained
the 24 year-old, who had to vomit twice during his race. Despite this he
not only won but also improved his personal best in his second marathon by
eleven seconds. "Last night I could not sleep. So at around 3 am in the
morning I ate some bananas. Somehow something went wrong. But I am very
happy that I still won," said Joseph Kiptum.
In the women's race Natalya Puchkova was well ahead early in the race. In
contrast to their normal race tactics the Ethiopians opted for a much
slower start. At the half marathon mark the 25 year-old Russian had an
advantage of exactly one minute, when she passed this point in 1:13:47. A
group with five Ethiopians only started chasing her after the gap had
increased to 1:15 minutes at 30 k. While Puchkova, who had entered the
event with a personal best of 2:33:03, slowed her advantage was getting
smaller and smaller. When the Russian entered the finishing straight she
was still quite a bit ahead of Aberume Mekuria. The Ethiopian then mounted
a final attack and sprinted towards Natalya Puchkova. But she could not
quite overtake her in the end.
Behind Puchkova and Mekuria two Ethiopians took third and fourth: 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-old daughter of Katrin
Dörre-Heinig broke 2:40 for the first time. She had been on course for a
time of around 2:36, but then had problems in the final 10 k.
More information about the TUI Marathon Hannover is available online at: