With a course record of 2:04:09, Kenyan Bernard Koech won the Haspa Marathon Hamburg, while European champion Richard Ringer (LC Rehlingen) provided the German highlight with a strong sixth place as the best continental runner. With his time of 2:08:08, Ringer fell just short of the Olympic standard for the 2024 Games in Paris and became the second-fastest German runner of all time in Hamburg. Second was Joshua Belet (Kenya) with a time of 2:04:33, third place went to Martin Kosgei in 2:06:18.
The women’s race was won by the Kenyan Dorcas Tuitoek in a top-class 2:20:09, the second-fastest time ever run in Hamburg. Second was the long-time leader Tiruye Mesfin (Ethiopia) in 2:20:18. Stella Chesang from Uganda came third. She made a very good debut with 2:20:23 and set a national record straight away. Fabienne Königstein (MTG Mannheim) ran surprisingly well, finishing eighth in 2:25:48, well below her personal best, under the Olympic standard and setting a German best time for the year.
Almost 12,000 runners had registered for the marathon competition on Sunday. Including the half marathon, marathon relay and the junior race Das Zehntel on the previous day, a good 30,000 runners were registered for the weekend. “We have even topped last year. Conditions were optimal and despite a comparatively somewhat thinner elite field, we now have a course record -I’m honestly surprised and very pleased,” said chief organiser Frank Thaleiser.
With almost perfect temperatures of around 12 degrees Celsius, the men’s race was already shaping up to be an exciting one. After the start, a leading group of 13 runners formed and stayed together until kilometre 27. The half marathon mark was passed after 62:32 minutes, which was still a bit too slow for a course record. From kilometre 27 onwards, however, the pace in the leading group increased significantly and the three Kenyans Bernard Koech, Martin Kosgei and Joshua Belet were able to break away from the group. Shortly before kilometre 35 (1:42:55) Martin Kosgei dropped back. Shortly afterwards, Bernard Koech left his compatriot Joshua Belet behind. From then on, he ran single-handedly towards the finish line. With a strong time of 2:04:09, the Kenyan Koech won the Haspa Marathon Hamburg 2023 and improved the previous course record, set only last year by Cybrian Kotut (Kenya) with 2:04:47, by 38 seconds. The 35-year-old winner thus set exactly his personal best time. Joshua Belet came in second in 2:04:33, which was also below the previous course record. His compatriot Martin Kosgei finished third in 2:06:18. Daniel do Nascimento (Brazil), who was one of the favourites, finished fourth in 2:07:06. “I ran a good race, but I knew that I would have to beat my personal best in order to win,” said Bernard Koech. “I spoke to Eluid Kipchoge a lot before the race and he gave me tips on the course,” said the Kenyan. Kipchoge had won his debut marathon in Hamburg in 2013.
Richard Ringer also showed a convincing performance in his fifth marathon and ran another solid race in sixth place. With his time of 2:08:08 he improved by 41 seconds and stayed two seconds below the international Olympic standard. Only German record holder Amanal Petros (SCC Berlin/2:06:27) is ahead of him in the eternal national rankings. Richard Ringer ran rather defensively behind the leading group for a long time and was able to keep his pace in the second half of the race after a half marathon time of 64:05 minutes. In contrast, Haftom Welday (Hamburger Laufladen) was very courageous, perhaps a little over-motivated, and ran in the leading group. As a result, his split times were well below the German record for a long time. But Welday was not able to keep up this pace and collapsed about ten kilometres before the finish. After Richard Ringer overtook him two kilometres before the finish, he finished in eighth place in 2:09:40. “The race went exactly according to plan for me. My pacemaker did his job very well,” said Richard Ringer. “At the end I had almost the same feeling as at the European Championships.”
In the women’s race, the favoured Tiruye Mesfin (Ethiopia) pulled away early on, as expected. With a half marathon time of 69:46, however, she fell short of her own expectations. Her goal was originally to attack the announced and was already clearly outside the course record of 2:17:23. By kilometre 35, Tiruye Mesfin was able to extend her lead over a group of four to just under a minute. At this point, it looked as if the Ethiopian would win the race, but she collapsed and then crashed in the last kilometre. With 300 metres to go, Kenyan Dorcas Tuitoek ran past her to win in a personal best 2:20:09, with Tiruye Mesfin (2:20:18) eventually finishing second and Stella Chesang (2:20:23) following in third. “The course is flat and good for records. I thought I could run 2:20 here but was surprised to win,” Dorcas Tuitoek said afterwards. Fabienne Königstein (MTG Mannheim) caused a surprise by finishing eighth in 2:25:48, improving her previous personal best (2:32:35) by almost seven minutes. After an intermediate half marathon time of 1:12:41, she was almost able to maintain her pace. Königstein, who ran her first marathon since 2018 after a baby break, is now the sixth-fastest German runner of all time. “I approached the race as bravely as possible, because that is my running style. I had hardly any marathon preparation for this race, which of course will increase the expectations in the future,” said the 30-year-old. “It went better than I had ever dreamed. ”
In the everyman race, 8,700 marathon runners and 5,900 relay participants had crossed the finish line at the end of the race. Before that, almost 3,600 half marathon runners had successfully completed the half marathon.
Online registration for the 38th Haspa Marathon Hamburg starts on Monday, 24 April.
The date for this is 28 April 2024.