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Race news Mainova Frankfurt Marathon

30 October 2018, 12pm

Kelkile Gezahegn triumphs in men’s race

Meskerem Assefa breaks women’s course record in windy Frankfurt

Mainova Frankfurt Marathon
Sun 28 October 2018

Assefa meskeremfh frankfurt18

Runner-up last year, this time the number one: the Ethiopian Kelkile Gezahegn won the 37th edition of the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon in cool and at times extremely windy conditions in 2:06:37.

After a thrilling duel he broke away from Martin Kosgey of Kenya who finished in 2:06:41. Fellow Kenyan Alex Kibet finished third on his marathon debut in 2:07:09.

The top result of the day was achieved by the women’s winner as the 33-year-old Ethiopian Meskerem Assefa broke the course record with 2:20:36. That was 25 seconds faster than her compatriot Meselech Melkamu had run here in 2012.

In a women’s field which produced high-quality performances in depth, Haftamnesh Tesfay of Ethiopia ran 2:20:47 for second place, also faster than Melkamu’s former course record of 2:21:01. Ethiopia achieved a clean sweep of the women’s podium when Bedatu Hirpa crossed the line for third in the Festhalle in 2:21:32. The leading German finisher among the women was Katharina Heinig who finished impressively in 14th place, just inside 2:30. Her time of 2:29:55 was the second fastest by a German woman this year.

13,934 runners from 102 countries took part in this year’s Mainova Frankfurt Marathon and, taking into account participants in the various parallel events, 26,826 were running in total.

“We were delighted with the results, the fantastic atmosphere in the city and the number of participants,” said the race organiser Jo Schindler as he looked back on the day. The elite race director Christoph Kopp summed up the performances of the elite athletes: “We’ve shown the marathon world once again that you can run very fast here. I am delighted that the women’s course record has been broken.”

When a big leading group of twelve female runners passed the half way point in 69:55 it was obvious that something special was possible. The group was on course for sub 2:20 and although weather conditions were far from ideal the women kept their pace until late in the race. At 30 k their 1:39:30 split time still pointed to just below 2:20. It was only after this point when the group slowed slightly and some lost contact running into a headwind for several kilometres.

At 35 k there were still five runners in the leading group: Ethiopians Haftamnesh Tesfay, Bedatu Hirpa, Meskerem Assefa and Dera Dida as well as Betsy Saina. The Paris marathon champion from Kenya then struggled and finally finished eighth. Hirpa and Dida also dropped back while Tesfay and Assefa were now battling for victory. It was in the final kilometre when Assefa, who finished third in Frankfurt a year ago and had the advantage of knowing the course, moved ahead and build a decisive lead.

“I did not really feel the wind,” said Assefa after winning in 2:20:36. “I prepared for Frankfurt for five months because I wanted to run 2:22 and win the race. Now I had to run a little bit quicker for first place.” Second placed Tesfay clocked 2:20:47 and also was inside the previous course record of 2:21:01. Without the wind the leading duo might well have broken 2:20 today.

With her winning time, which is also a personal best, Meskerem Assefa moved up to 13th in the world this year. Seven runners finished inside 2:23 in Frankfurt’s women’s race, which is a record for a German marathon.


1 Kelkile GEZAHEGN ETH 2:06:37
2 Martin KOSGEY KEN 2:06:41
3 Alex KIBET KEN 2:07:09
4 Amos MITEI KEN 2:07:28
5 Kenneth KETER KEN 2:07:34
1 Meskerem ASSEFA ETH 2:20:36
2 Haftamnesh TESFAY ETH 2:20:47
3 Bedatu HIRPA ETH 2:21:32
4 Belaynesh OLIJIRA ETH 2:21:53
5 Dera DIDA ETH 2:22:39

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