After last year’s brilliant victory by Ethiopian Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who broke several records in her marathon debut in the Hanseatic city, Hamburg will once again be the stage for fast international top runners. This year, Yehualaw’s compatriot Tiruye Mesfin leads the start list of the elite women’s field. At 20, the Ethiopian is two years younger than Yalemzerf Yehualaw was when she won in Hamburg. Although Mesfin has not yet won a marathon, her personal best of 2:18:47, with which she finished sixth in the Valencia Marathon in December 2022, can rightly be classified as a world-class time. This reference also makes her the fastest marathon runner ever to start in Hamburg.
Tiruye Mesfin’s strongest competitor is her compatriot Sintayehu Tilahun, who is ranked second on the start list. The 23-year-old athlete is also still very young and is considered a novice with a great future on the international stage. With her best time of 2:22:19 hours, she finished second at the Milan Marathon exactly one year ago.
At least among the extended group of favourites is 26-year-old Stella Chesang. The Ugandan will make her marathon debut in Hamburg on 23 April and has a half marathon best of 68:11 minutes in addition to various national records. She recently impressed at the World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia over 10 kilometres and before that at the 10 kilometre road race in Valencia, both with top ten finishes. With a podium finish in Hamburg, Stella Chesang could also set a new Ugandan marathon record, which currently stands at 2:23:13 hours.
Italian Giovanna Epis, the top three seed, hails from Venice. The 34-year-old athlete competed in her first race at the age of 16. Her marathon debut would follow eleven years later at the Florence Marathon in 2015, which she successfully completed in 2:39:28 hours and fifth place. In the years that followed, she steadily improved. She was recently rewarded with a new personal best at the Valencia Marathon in December 2022 with 2:23:54 hours. For the Haspa Hamburg Marathon, Giovanna Epis has her sights set on upgrading the current Italian national record of 2:23:44 hours.
This year’s only top German runner, Tabea Themann, is on a very good Hamburg course. The 30-year-old Hamburg marathon champion had been preparing for weeks in an altitude training camp in Iten, Kenya. She also recently confirmed her excellent form with a strong performance in the Berlin half marathon.
Online registration in the late entry category (marathon: €118, relay: €185) is still possible until 16 April.
A total of more than 30,000 runners are expected to take part in the 37th edition of Germany’s biggest spring marathon on Sunday, 23 April 2023.