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22 March 2021, 10am

Strong marathon debut by Boch – Schlumpf breaks Swiss half marathon record

Elite athletes run in Dresden

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Despite freezing and windy conditions Simon Boch ran a strong debut marathon at the Itelligence Citylauf Invitational in Dresden on 21 March. The German winner clocked 2:10:48 – inside the Olympic qualifying standard. Poland’s Anna Bankowska took the women’s race in 2:31:16.

In the half marathon Fabienne Schlumpf broke the Swiss record with a time of 1:08:27 while Germany’s Richard Ringer won a highly contested men’s race with 1:01:33. Richard Douma of the Netherlands and Katharina Steinruck of Germany were the winners of the 10km races with times of 28:55 and 31:59.

The Itelligence Citylauf Invitational was an elite-only race staged on a 2500m lap in a large park area in Dresden. It was organized by “Laufszene Events” and Berlin’s elite road running management ISS of Christoph Kopp.

With temperatures little above freezing point and a considerable head wind on the back straight of the course conditions were not easy for the runners. But it became worse for Simon Boch, when his sole pacemaker dropped out early around 12.5km. Training partner Tim Ramdane Cherif was supposed to lead the debutant until 25km. After an initial 10km split time of 30:34 Boch was able to hold on to the pace as planned during the first half. He reached halfway 1:04:36. Despite his courageous race the 26-year old, who had improved his half marathon PB to 1:01:36 at last year’s World Half Marathon Championships, did slow during the second half.

Boch was the only one to break the Olympic qualifying standard of 2:11:30. Behind him two more debutants took second and third: Belgium’s Soufiane Bouchikhi ran 2:12:39 and Tom Hendrikse finished in 2:13:03.

“My goal was to run 2:09. However I could not have done any better in these conditions. It was extremely tough. Regarding the Olympics I now have to wait and see what happens in Hamburg,“ said Boch, who currently is in third position in the race for the three Olympic places.

In the women’s race Polish runners Anna Bankowska and Aleksandra Brzezinska were on course to break the Olympic qualifying standard. Bankowska then moved ahead around 25 k mark. But both women slowed. While they clocked personal bests of 2:31:16 and 2:34:24 respectively they missed the qualifying time of 2:29:30. Germany’s Miriam Dattke had to withdraw at short notice due to a muscle injury.

Richard Ringer could be in a position to retake third spot in the German Olympic qualifying race when he will run the elite-only marathon in Hamburg scheduled for 11 April. He won the half marathon which boasted a fine European field. In a tight race with the first ten finishing within 32 seconds Ringer had the best finishing kick. He clocked a personal best of 1:01:33 to deny debutant Nils Voigt (1:01:35) and fellow German Amanal Petros. The German marathon record holder ran 1:01:37. Belgium’s European Marathon Champion Koen Naert and Norway’s Sondre Moen followed with 1:01:38 and 1:01:42. Apart from Moen all of the first ten clocked personal bets. "It is a pity that it was that cold. I tried to run a faster pace but when no-one followed it made no sense,“ said Richard Ringer who feels confident regarding the Hamburg Marathon. “My goal will be to run sub 2:10.”

Defying the conditions Fabienne Schlumpf clocked a Swiss national record, improving her own mark by 11 seconds. Preparing for her marathon debut in Bern on 3 April she ran 1:08:27. Schlumpf was well ahead of second-placed Domenika Mayer, who broke 70 minutes for the first time (1:09:52). Mekdes Woldu of Eritrea followed in third with 1:00:50.

“I am used to running in cold conditions so I was not too bothered by the weather“ said Schlumpf, who will target the Olympic marathon qualifying time next month.

Katharina Steinruck, who is targeting the Hamburg Marathon, won the 10km race in a personal best of 31:59. She edged out Sweden’s Sarah Lahti who was given the same time.

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