FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Frankfurt Marathon Report
Despite a magnificent effort over the final five kilometres of the BMW
Frankfurt Marathon this morning, when he could see that his promised world
record was slipping away, Wilson Kipsang of Kenya fell just four seconds
short of his compatriot, Patrick Makau's world mark of 2.03.38, set in
Berlin five weeks ago.
There was some scant consolation that his repeat victory in Germany's
finance capital was a new course record, over a minute faster than his
2.04.57 here last year, and that this time will situate him firmly
alongside Makau as a front runner for Kenya's Olympic marathon trio for
The race went exactly as Kipsang had planned it, until just after 30
kilometres of the 42.195k. An early morning shower had given way to a
still, slightly misty morning, with temperatures rising from 11C at the
10am start to around 14C at the finish (52-58F); just about perfect
conditions for a marathon. A group of 15 men went through 10k in 29.25,
diminishing to a sextet at halfway in 61.40, four seconds faster than Makau
in Berlin. Deriba Merga of Ethiopia, who finished fourth in the Beijing
Olympics, was still in the lee of the pacemaker, Peter Kirui of Kenya, who
was reproducing his metronomic feats from Berlin last month; but so were
relative unknown Kenyans, Levy Matebo and Albert Matebor.
But it was clear that the pace was dropping when Kipsang went up onto
Kirui's shoulder at around 33k, and when the defending champion saw at 35k
that he was heading for a 2.04 finish, he took off by himself. If the
winner had ever been in any doubt, that issue was settled right then. It
was Kipsang against the clock. And what a race he made of it.
Kipsang sailed away from his pursuers, and clawed back two or three seconds
per kilometre on the record chase, with the crowds out on the streets, and
watching on the big screens at the indoor finish in Frankfurt's Festhalle
willing him on. Fireworks and floodlights greeted him for the final metres
on the red carpet in the Festhalle, but the world record effort was just in
vain, by four seconds. Kipsang had promised a world record, but given the
way he chased it in the final stages, no one was going to cavil that he
failed to deliver.
And if Kipsang was disappointed, he didn't show it. "It's OK," he said at
the finish, "I'm very happy with the time. The pacemaking was fine, they
did a good job. I'll try to do it (break the record) next year, this has
given me even more motivation".
The near namesakes Matebo and Matebor revised their bests by over two
minutes and close to four minutes respectively; and pacemaker Kirui hung in
to finish sixth in 2.06.33, no mean feat in itself. There were nine Kenyans
in the first ten, Siraj Gena of Ethiopia being the interloper in eighth
place. Another record was the 14 men under 2.10, the most in any marathon.
Kipsang's 2.03.42 is clearly the second fastest in history, behind Makau,
but 17sec ahead of the great Haile Gebselassie, whose 2.03.59 has taken a
bit of a battering in recent weeks. Incidentally, all three sub-2.04 times
have been set in Germany, Makau and Geb in Berlin, and now Kipsang in
Frankfurt, an appropriate 30th anniversary present for Germany's oldest
city marathon. And the lesson seems to be, if you want to run a fast
marathon, come to Germany; or to put it another way, Deutschland Unter
It worked in the women's race too, with Mamitu Daska of Ethiopia taking
almost a minute and half off Kenyan, Caroline Kilel's record of 2.23.25
from last year. For more than half the race, Daska was preceded by her
young colleague, Merima Mohammed. But the 19 year old fell away in the
latter stages, while Agnes Kiprop of Kenya rallied, to finish second in
2.23.54, with another Kenyan, marathon debutante, Flomena Chepchirchir
third, in 2.24.21. Mohammed was fourth in 2.24.34.