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Race preview: METRO Group Marathon Duesseldorf

by Press Release
Friday 6th May 2011

Kiogora, Weidlinger, Fitschen – African, European and German hopes in Duesseldorf

Strong Africans, European hopes plus a much anticipated debut by Germany’s Jan Fitschen – Sunday’s METRO Group Marathon Duesseldorf has quite something to offer. While Africans will chase both course records Austria’s Günther Weidlinger and Russia’s defending champion Natalya Volgina hope to be among the leading finishers. Meanwhile Jan Fitschen goes for a sub 2:15 debut marathon. “We have a perfect mixture in our elite field and expect an interesting race. I just hope it does not get to warm,” said Jan Winschermann, the Race Director of the METRO Group Marathon Duesseldorf. High temperatures and a possible wind could harm performances on Sunday. Adding other running events the race has around 14,000 entries. The METRO Group Marathon Duesseldorf is an IAAF Bronze Label Race.

Three runners feature personal bests of sub 2:10: Stephen Kiogora (Kenya/2:08:24), Chala Lemi (Ethiopia/2:08:49) and Jonathan Yego (Kenya/2:09:57). After he had an injury in January Kiogora was looking for a marathon in May rather than earlier. “I have trained well and hope for a good result. I will try to break the course record and the 64 minutes that are planned for the first half would be fine for me”, said Kiogora, who was second in New York in 2006. While elite race coordinator Christoph Kopp tips Chala Lemi to shine there are seven more runners with personal bests of sub 2:12 in the race. The course record established by Iaroslav Musinschi (Moldavia) in 2010 stands at 2:08:32.

Usually Christoph Kopp hands bib number 7 to someone who he thinks could cause a surprise. On Sunday Günther Weidlinger got this number. “Looking at my training I should be able to improve my personal best. But we will have to wait and see how warm it gets,” said the Austrian record holder, who ran 2:10:47 in Frankfurt in 2009. If conditions are suitable the 33 year-old intends to go for a first half between 65:20 and 65:30 minutes. The minimum Günther Weidlinger wants to get on Sunday is Olympic qualification for London 2012. In contrast to Germany the Austrian federation has allowed their marathon runners to already use this year’s spring races as a qualifier. “I will have to run 2:14:00, which should be no problem,” said Weidlinger.

Günther Weidlinger and Natalya Volgina © Victah Sailer / photorun.net

Photo: Günther Weidlinger and Natalya Volgina © Victah Sailer / photorun.net

Jan Fitschen looked ahead to his debut with confidence. “Preparations were fine, actually even better than I expected,” said the 34 year-old, who had sensationally taken the 10,000 m gold medal at the European Championships in 2006. But after that big win a series of injuries had stopped him. During the final phase of his career Jan Fitschen will now concentrate on the marathon. Four weeks ago he had a successful test, when he took the BIG 25 Herne, clocking 1:16:56 for the 25 k distance. “Everything went well there. For Sunday I plan to run the first half in 67:30 minutes. May be this is a little bit too slow, but hopefully I can then run faster during the second half,“ Fitschen said.

There are three women entered with personal bests of sub 2:30. Merima Mohammed is the big favourite. Still only 18 years old the Ethiopian clocked 2:23:06 in Toronto in 2010, where she finished third. Mohammed will have a go at the six year-old course record held by Germany’s Luminita Zaituc (2:26:44). Among her strongest rivals there will be Leah Malot (Kenya/personal best: 2:29:17) and defending champion Natalya Volgina (2:27:32). „My aim is to reach a personal best and finish inside the top three,“ said Natalya Volgina.

More information and online entry is available at: www.metrogroup-marathon.de


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