FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Course Record Targeted as Duncan Koech Hopes to Keep His Rhythm
The course record is the goal in the men's race of the 11th METRO GROUP
Marathon Duesseldorf this Sunday. Taking into account the enormous
development of men's elite marathon times this mark of 2:08:27 looks almost
out of date. The best field ever assembled for the race is supposed to
attack and lower the mark on Sunday. Seven runners will be on the starting
line with personal bests of sub 2:10. The fastest on paper is Kenya's Paul
Biwott with a PB of 2:06:54. In contrast to the men's race the women's
event has a clear favourite: Ethiopia's Melkam Gizaw returns to the race at
the river Rhine, where she finished third in 2012. Adding other events
organisers registered around 14,000 athletes of which 4,250 are marathon
runners. The METRO GROUP Marathon Duesseldorf is an IAAF Bronze Label Race.
"We have signed seven runners with personal bests of sub 2:10 because we
want to see a thrilling race and not one, where one runner is all on his
own in the lead," explained Christoph Kopp, the Elite Race Coordinator,
during a press conference that was held at Duesseldorf Airport on Friday.
Ironically the fastest man in the field was not present, because Paul
Biwott had missed his flight back in Kenya on Thursday. Originally another
Kenyan had been the fastest runner on the start list: But Duncan Kibet, who
has a PB of 2:04:27 and is the Rotterdam Marathon course record holder, had
to cancel on short notice because of a muscle injury.
Paul Biwott, who ran his personal best of 2:06:54 when finishing sixth in
Amsterdam in 2011, will run with bib number 2 on Sunday. This is worth
mentioning since Christoph Kopp has a habit of handing his personal
favourite bib number 7. This one he has given to Duncan Koech. The 31
year-old Kenyan has just missed out on victory in Duesseldorf a year ago.
He finished second with 2:08:33 and was only six seconds behind Ethiopia's
Seboka Diriba Tola. Duncan Koech ran his personal best of 2:07:53 slightly
further up the Rhine in Cologne last autumn, where he was third.
"I am well prepared and want to run a personal best on Sunday. Hopefully in
what will be my 13th marathon I will improve to around 2:07," said Duncan
Koech, who comes from Kapsabet. Since he ran his first marathon in 2008
winning in Hannover, he managed to improve his PB every year. On Sunday
Duncan Koech hopes to keep his rhythm. He got some good inspiration last
Sunday, when he was back in Kenya: "I watched Eliud Kipchoge winning the
Hamburg Marathon (with a course record of 2:05:30 in his debut). I was very
happy, because Eliud is my idol. We know each other very well since we are
almost neighbours in Kapsabet."
Duncan Koech expects a strong challenge from his fellow-Kenyans Pius Ondoro
(PB: 2:08:00) and Cosmas Kigen (2:09:43) on Sunday. Three Ethiopians
complete the group of runners entered with personal bests of sub 2:10:
Solomon Tsige Asfaw (2:09:01), Dereje Debele Tulu (2:09:08) and Haylu
Dogaga Abebe (2:09:34). The two time winner of the Athens Marathon (2010
and 2012), Raymond Bett (Kenya/2:11:32), could do well on Sunday and there
is debutant Milton Rotich. The Kenyan has a half marathon best of 60:43
from 2012 and ran 27:46 in a 10 k in Cardiff in 2011.
In contrast to the men's race a women's course record (2:25:49) looks
unlikely. Ethiopia's Melkam Gizaw is the only runner entered with a PB of
sub 2:30. She ran 2:26:52 in Eindhoven in 2011 and then clocked 2:27:50 in
Duesseldorf last year. Two debutants might well go with her pace on Sunday:
Rebecca Chesire (Kenya) has a half marathon best of 70:45. Addisalem Demeke
Mekonnen is an unknown in international road running so far. The Ethiopian
will compete in Europe for the first time.
In her second marathon Germany's Veronica Pohl could achieve a good place.
After her 2:34:59 debut in Frankfurt last October she intends to well
improve her time. The 27 year-old might even try to break the national
qualifying standard for the World Championships in Moscow this summer. She
would need to run 2:30:30 for that.
More information and online entry is available at: