Monday, May 9, 2011
Nahashon Kimaiyo and Merima Mohammed took the METRO Group Marathon Duesseldorf. Taking into account the very warm weather the 28 year-old Kenyan clocked a remarkable time of 2:10:54. Vasyl Remshchuck (Ukraine/2:13:09) and Jonathan Yego (Kenya/2:13:50) took second and third. Austria’s Günther Weidlinger did not finish the race. He collapsed and had to get medical treatment after finally dropping out around the 25 k point. Merima Mohammed had been the big favourite ahead of the race. The 18 year-old Ethiopian clocked 2:28:15 and was more than five minutes ahead of her nearest rival. Leah Malot (Kenya/2:33:21) was second, followed by Agnieszka Gortel (Poland/2:33:48). High temperatures of above 20° Celsius in the shade and a strong wind had ruined hopes of much faster times and course records. Adding other running events around 14,000 athletes competed in the METRO Group Marathon Duesseldorf.
Quite a number of the elite runners could not cope with the heat and the additional wind. Some of them already dropped out well before the 20 k mark and pace making also did not go as planned. Germany’s André Pollmächer was supposed to guide the first group to the half way point, but he started dropping back after 18 k. It was at this point, when Nahashon Kimaiyo made an early move. Having entered the race with a personal best of 2:10:36 it was a brave decision by him to keep the pace of Pollmächer and take the lead. None of the others dared to follow him in the high temperatures with 24 kilometres to go. When Nahashon Kimaiyo passed the half way mark in 63:55 minutes he was almost 40 seconds ahead of a chasing group. He continued to increase his advantage and was still on course for a course record (2:08:32) at 25 k.
“When the pacemaker dropped back early I had the choice of either running in the group and probably finishing in around 2:15 or trying to give it a go myself. So I went for it, but I was surprised that none of the others went with me,” said Nahashon Kimaiyo, who had won the Antwerp Marathon in 2010 with 2:12:00 and had established his personal best when finishing third in La Rochelle in the same year. He just missed his personal record in Duesseldorf. “I really wanted to break the course record, but it was simply too warm. Additionally I got the wind into my face after around 31 k. It was getting very tough then. It is a pity, because the course is a fast one,” the Kenyan said.
While German debutant Jan Fitschen battled through with a time of 2:20:15 in eighth place Günther Weidlinger was in much more trouble. The Austrian record holder (2:10:47) originally hoped for a personal best, but he collapsed in the heat. He had passed the half way mark in 60:45 minutes, looking good behind two pacemakers. But suddenly he started staggering at 23.5 k. Weidlinger continued but collapsed at 25 k, which was the end of his race. He had to have medical treatment, but was not in a serious condition and recovered.
In the women’s race Merima Mohammed was as superior as Nahashon Kimaiyo had been in the men’s event. With the help of pacemakers she ran her own race right from the start. Already after 10 k (34:53 minutes) the young Ethiopian was more than half a minute ahead of a chasing group. By half way she had increased her lead to more than 90 seconds. Merima Mohammed, who had come to Duesseldorf with a personal best of 2:23:06, passed this point in 1:13:25. But in the rising temperatures she had to give up her initial hopes for a personal best or for at least breaking the course record (2:26:44). “I did not feel comfortable in the heat. I am used to cooler conditions because I train at an altitude of around 2,000 metres,” said Merima Mohammed. But she still coped very well in the extreme conditions. Among those who dropped out was the defending champion Natalya Volgina (Russia).