FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Former Winners Kiptum and April Go for Course Record in Hannover
Germany's busy spring marathon season will see its final race of
international significance this Sunday: The TUI Marathon Hannover will have
the defending champion Joseph Kiptum on the starting line. The Kenyan, who
ran a personal best of 2:09:56 in 2012, will be up against the winner from
2011, Lusapho April. The South African also clocked his PB in Hannover when
he won with 2:09:25. Five more Kenyans are in the race who have run sub
2:10 times before, making this the best quality elite field in the history
of the race so far. The men will be targeting the course record of 2:08:52.
In the women's race Ukraine's Olena Burkovska is the fastest athlete
entered with a PB of 2:28:31. Here organisers hope for a first sub 2:30
time. Adding races at shorter distances a total of around 15,000 athletes
is expected to take part in the TUI Marathon Hannover, which is an IAAF
Bronze Label Race.
With weather conditions expected to be almost perfect and Hannover
providing a very flat course Elite Race Coordinator Christoph Kopp intends
to instruct the pacemakers for a 64:20 half way pace. "We are careful not
to overpace. I hope that a group of eight to ten runners will still be
together at the 25 k point and possibly until 30 k. Then we should be on
schedule for a course record," said Christoph Kopp. A year ago he had hoped
that Joseph Kiptum would be able to improve the course best of 2:08:52 set
by Yussuf Sangoka (Kenya) in 2010. But Kiptum had severe stomach problems
during the race. However he still managed to win with 2:09:56. "I would
think Joseph can run at least one minute faster," said Christoph Kopp.
"A 64:20 for half way should be easy," said 25 year-old Joseph Kiptum. "I
hope to run well, to run a personal best, a course record and may be even a
time slightly under 2:08," said the defending champion, who had run the
Berlin half marathon a month ago. There he finished sixth with 61:38
minutes. Asked about his stomach problems a year ago the runner from Iten
explained: "I woke up in the night before the race and was very hungry. So
I had six bananas and then I was sick during the race."
For Lusapho April the TUI Marathon Hannover will be his first race at the
classic distance since the Olympic Games in London. "Despite some smaller
injury problems in the build-up to London he ran well in the first 30
kilometres. Lusapho was in the group with Meb Keflezighi, who went on to
finish fourth. But he was unlucky since he fell hard at the 30 k
refreshment point. So he was limping during the final lap," explained his
coach Karen Zimmerman. Lusapho April finished 43rd in London with 2:19:00.
On Sunday his coach hopes that he will be back in peak form. The 30
year-old runner from Uitenhage near Port Elizabeth had a good half marathon
test in the Two Oceans race in March. On the hilly course he was
outsprinted and finished second with 63:40. "I am back in Hannover to do
well and I want to win," said Lusapho April.
The fastest runner in the field is Wilfred Kigen (Kenya), who has a PB of
2:07:33 from Hamburg in 2007. While he was second in that race he is the
three-time Frankfurt Marathon winner (2005 to 2007). The 38 year-old may no
longer be a big favourite but he still trains seriously. "I will run with
the leading group on Sunday and then see what I can do," said Wilfred
Kigen. He had been a pacemaker at the Seoul Marathon in March, where he ran
until 25 k in a 2:06 pace.
Four more Kenyans are in Sunday's race with PBs of sub 2:10: Daniel Kosgei
(2:08:45), David Kisang (2:08:54), Sila Toek (2:09:09) and Jonathan Yego,
who won the Rome Marathon in 2008 with 2:09:57.
For various reasons the TUI Marathon Hannover still has no women's time of
sub 2:30. Last year Russia's Natalya Puchkova improved the course record to
2:30:17. This Friday there was an early set-back for the organisers. Mercy
Kibarus was regarded as the big pre-race favourite because the Kenyan
recently clocked 68:18 in the Rome Ostia Half Marathon. But her visa was
made void apparently by a French embassy official at Nairobi airport on
Friday evening. "She had a Schengen visa for France, but the flight was
going into Amsterdam. So they stopped her and fellow-Kenyan Patrick Terer,
who was supposed to do very well on Sunday as well," said a furious
Christoph Kopp. There was nothing he could do. "If they would not have made
the visas void we could have rebooked the flights. This is unbelievable and
puts the athletes in a very bad position – months of training for nothing."
Hopes for a course record and a sub 2:30 times now remain with Olena
Burkovska (Ukraine/2.28:31) and Russia's national champion from 2012,
Natalya Sokolova (2:30:10). But Marta Megra (Ethiopia) and debutant Edinah
Kwambai (Kenya) could also do well. Megra has improved to 2:31:01 in Mumbai
this January while Kwambai has a half marathon PB of 70:36 from 2012.
More information about the TUI Marathon Hannover is available online at: