Yalemzerf Yehualaw won the Haspa Marathon Hamburg with a sensational new course record after 2:17:23 hours. The 22-year-old Ethiopian ran by far the fastest debut over the 42.195 km of all time. The previous best debut time was set by Britain’s Paula Radcliffe in London in 2002 with 2:18:56. Yalemzerf Yehualaw immediately became the sixth-fastest marathon runner of all time in Hamburg, smashing the previous course record set by Meselech Melkamu (2:21:54) in 2016. Yehualaw’s compatriots Fikrte Wereta and Bone Cheluke finished second and third with 2:26:15 and 2:26:23 respectively. The fastest German woman was Kristina Hendel (LG Braunschweig), who finished a strong fifth with a personal best of 2:27:29.
The men’s race was close from the beginning. It was not until kilometre 38 that a preliminary decision was made, when the Kenyan Cybrian Kotut and the Ugandan marathon debutant Stephen Kissa were able to break away from the leading group of six. Both had a spectacular duel until the end. In the final sprint, Cybrian Kotut won with a final time of 2:04:47, just ahead of Stephen Kissa (2:04:48). Ethiopia’s Workineh Tadesse finished third with a time of 2:05:07, leaving all three runners under the previous course record of 2:05:30 set by Kenya’s superstar Eliud Kipchoge in 2013. “I am very happy to have managed to mark a new course record here. The pacemakers gave me good cover from the wind,” said winner Cybrian Kotut.
“This was a great spring comeback for us. We were able to present a great, great race on the streets of Hamburg and are proud of the extremely strong results with two course records and a literally unique debut by Yalemzerf Yehualaw,” said chief organiser Frank Thaleiser.
In sunny but windy conditions and temperatures around 10 degrees Celsus, Yalemzerf Yehualaw ran at the front from the start and steadily increased her lead. At the half marathon mark, her lead was already over two and a half minutes with a fast passing time of 68:30. By the end, she was almost nine minutes ahead. “For my first marathon, the race went very well for me. The fast course suited me and the spectators were a great support,” said the winner.
There were some disappointments among the German runners, especially among the men. Philipp Pflieger and Johannes Motschmann (both SCC Berlin) led the German field until kilometre 30. Shortly afterwards Pflieger had to give up. Motschmann dropped back significantly from kilometre 35, but finished the race in 24th place with a time of 2:17:08. Filimon Abraham (LG Telis Finanz Regensburg) also had to end the race at kilometre 35. Best German was Florian Rösler (TV Konstanz) in his good marathon debut in 2:15:03. “I am very surprised to be the fastest German. The race didn’t go optimally for me, but very well for a debut.”
Among the German women, Kristina Hendel (LG Braunschweig) was the leader from the start. In the end she finished a strong fifth in a top field with 2:27:29. “We had to fight with wind from kilometre 8 to 31. In addition, I had cramps at the beginning, but then they disappeared. I broke my personal best time and am very proud of it. I hope to run in the German jersey at the European Championships in Munich,” said Kristina Hendel, who is currently only eligible to compete internationally for Croatia. Deborah Schöneborn (SCC Berlin) was the second German to finish ninth in 2:29:51.
A total of around 20,000 runners from 68 nations had registered for Sunday’s competitions at the 36th Haspa Marathon Hamburg. Hamburg’s sports senator Andy Grote and Haspa CFO Jürgen Marquardt gave the starting signal for the marathon at 9.30 am.
A total of almost 15,000 athletes crossed the finish line. Even in view of the almost perfect weather conditions, the day was quite calm for the rescue forces of the German Red Cross. 82 assistance services and 13 rescue operations were recorded after the finish line at 3.50 pm. An estimated hundred thousand spectators cheered on the athletes along the course. Already on Saturday, around 9,000 children and young people ensured a successful start to the event with the “Das Zehntel” (The Tenth) over 4.2 km.
The 37th Haspa Marathon Hamburg will be held on 23 April 2023 and registration for the event will open tomorrow, Monday 25 April at 12.00 noon.