08 February 2017, 11am
Haspa Marathon Hamburg
Sun 23 April 2017
The Ugandan caused a sensation when he surprised the favourites to win the Olympic gold in London in 2012, promoted to sporting superstar status overnight in his home country. A year later Kiprotich added to his tally of gold medals in winning the World Marathon title in Moscow.
Although Stephen Kiprotich has won two major global titles, victory in a big city marathon is one achievement missing so far in his running portfolio. He did win the Enschede marathon in 2011 with 2:07:20 but success in Hamburg would be of a different order.
Another leading contender has also been announced and that is Tsegaye Mekonnen. The 21-year-old Ethiopian is considerably faster than the Olympic champion Kiprotich with his best of 2:04:32, achieved on his sensational marathon debut in Dubai in 2014. His performance was the fastest ever by a junior, though remains an unofficial world record since the world governing body of the IAAF does not recognise junior records in the marathon.
The race organiser Frank Thaleiser has a simple explanation why high quality athletes come to run in Hamburg, despite the relatively small budget for elite runners: “The top runners don’t come to Hamburg because of the money, because our prize monies are hardly the biggest out there. They come because we, in partnership with Global Sports Communication, can offer them perfect conditions. These include a strong field overall, top pacemakers and a first class service for them in terms of the race and build-up. The course in the city beside the River Elbe is one of the fastest in the world and, if the weather is favourable, very fast times are part and parcel of the event.”