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The 40th edition of the Mainova Frankfurt marathon is set for Sunday and the course record of 2:03:42 could go down

When the 30th edition of the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon took place in 2011, Wilson Kipsang crowned the anniversary with a magnificent course record of 2:03:42. This performance took the Kenyan to number two in the world all-time lists at the time and was only four seconds outside the world record. Since then, no-one has gone close to threatening the course record. But at the next anniversary on Sunday, 12 years on, given the two years missed because of the Corona lockdown, this course record could at last be broken.

If the weather is favourable for the 40th Mainova Frankfurt Marathon, the leading contenders including last year’s champion Brimin Misoi and Vienna Marathon winner Samwel Mailu want to attack this target. The Kenyans know full well that they cannot afford to disregard Guye Adola of Ethiopia, whose personal best of 2:03:46 makes him the fastest man in the field. The women’s race has the makings of a thrilling contest for the title with seven runners who have run between 2:21:00 and 2:24:00. Two from the home contingent will have their sights set on achieving the Olympic qualifying time. Simon Boch and Miriam Dattke have places in the German team for next year’s Olympic Marathon in Paris as their goal.

The event organizers have so far received 23,726 entries from 115 countries. 13,036 of them will run the marathon while there are also races at shorter distances, held in conjunction with the marathon. The race is an Elite Label Road Race, a distinction awarded by World Athletics, the sport’s governing body.

The press conference in Frankfurt started with a minute of silence in memory of Christoph Kopp. The Berliner had died after a short illness on 28th April aged 75. Christoph Kopp was the elite race coordinator of the Frankfurt Marathon for two decades and guided the race into world-class - as he had done with the Berlin Marathon before and a number of other events. „In Christoph we have lost a true friend and the man who developed and shaped the elite races of the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon so successfully“, sagte Race Direktor Jo Schindler. 

Men’s race preview: Course record could be challenged

Christoph Kopp’s son Philipp has taken over the role of Elite Race Co-ordinator in Frankfurt. Three of strongest contenders in the men’s elite field had already been recruited by his father for the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon: Brimin Misoi, Samwel Mailu, both from Kenya and Guye Adola of Ethiopia. The latter had to withdraw from the event a few years ago because of injury so this will be his debut in Frankfurt. “We are working towards a halfway split between 61:50 and 62:00 to give the possibility of a course record,” explained Philipp Kopp.

Samwel Mailu has produced outstanding form recently. He won the Vienna City Marathon in April, breaking the course record with his personal best of 2:05:08. He continued by taking the bronze medal at the World Half Marathon Championships in Riga on October 1, again setting a personal best of 59:19. “The field in Frankfurt is very strong but I think I can run 2:04,” he announced. The celebrations back home in Kenya for his bronze medal at the World Half Marathon Championships have been an added incentive: “The messages of congratulation were simply fantastic.” But that didn’t mean he lost his concentration on the job in hand, he has every intention of being first across the finish line in Frankfurt’s Festhalle on Sunday.

Guye Adola (2:03:46 pb), Brimin Misoi (2:06:11) and the Ethiopian duo of Mulugeta Uma (2:06:07) and Abdi Kebede (2:06:43) will have to be on their best form to prevent Samwel Mailu winning. Adola certainly sounded confident: “I think I can run a very good time. If the pacemakers and other runners run fast, I don’t see any reason why I cannot run 2:03. As for qualifying for the Olympics, there’s not a leading Ethiopian runner who doesn’t have that as their goal – but, ultimately, it depends on the national federation.” Should the 2021 Berlin Marathon winner run in the region of his personal best, he would have a chance of booking his place for the Olympics. Brimin Misoi is also ready for a fast marathon: “I have trained very well and want to beat my personal best.”

The Olympic Games are also the top target for Simon Boch. The leading German male runner has a best of 2:09:25, achieved in winning the Linz title in spring but he needs to run under 2:08:10. “I will either run a high 2:07 or end up on a bench around 35 k,“ said Simon Boch.

Women’s Race: Kenyans are favourites

The compact but high-quality women’s field shows every chance of producing a thrilling contest. “I hope that a big group can stay together for a long time and help each other,” said Philipp Kopp. Among the genuine favourites is Magdalyne Masai of Kenya, who showed plenty of confidence when assessing her prospects: “I have had the best preparation ever for a marathon in my career.” She had more than role model for inspiration in her family. Sister Linet won the 10,000m title at the World Championships in Berlin in 2009 and her brother Moses took the bronze at the same distance in the men’s event.

“I had role models in my family and that gave me confidence. Above all, the performances of my sister because it’s not always easy for a woman in elite level sport. I said to myself, if she can do it, so can I.” Then there was the support from a ten-strong training group. Among them is Rosemary Wanjiru, who won this year’s Tokyo Marathon with an outstanding time of 2:16:28.

Magdalyne Masai, just as her compatriot and Frankfurt rival Visiline Jepkesho, has returned to marathon training and competition this year after maternity leave. “It was hard to come back after having a child,” said Jepkesho, whose youngest of two sons is now two years and three months. “I feel very good and am ready to run in the fastest group,” said the 33-year-old. Her personal best of 2:21:37, set six years ago, makes her the fastest woman in the field. Also in excellent form are two more Kenyans, Agnes Keino and Winfridah Moseti.

A similar form of co-operation may well happen between Miriam Dattke and Matea Parlov Kostro on Sunday. The former, the leading German runner in the field, achieved a surprise fourth place at the European Championships last year. She has a personal best of 2:26:50. Her target in Frankfurt is 2:24. This could secure her a place on the Olympic Marathon team. Parlov Kostro from Croatia, who won a silver medal at the same championships in Munich, improved her best to 2:25:45 with victory at the Hanover Marathon in spring. She is aiming to go through halfway on Sunday in 72:00. “I’m in better form than ever, my performances in training are stronger than before the European Championships,” said Matea Parlov Kostro, who has already achieved Olympic qualification.

Elite runners with personal bests


Guye Adola ETH 2:03:46

Samwel Mailu KEN 2:05:08

Mulugeta Uma ETH 2:06:07

Brimin Misoi KEN 2:06:11

Abdi Kebede ETH 2:06:43

Titus Kipkosgei KEN 2:07:46

Albert Kangogo KEN 2:07:48

Frederick Kibii KEN 2:08:09

Dominic Letting KEN 2:09:16

Simon Boch GER 2:09:25

Yimer Getahun ISR 2:09:27

Bukayaw Malede ISR 2:09:28

Soufiyan Bouqantar MAR 2:09:54

Tesema Moges ISR 2:10:31

Archie Casteel SWE 2:10:49

Tom Anderson GBR 2:12:07

Dominic Kiptarus KEN 2:12:46

Mario Bauernfeind AUT 2:15:34

Thorben Dietz GER 2:19:20

Andreas Vojta AUT 2:19:27

Isaac Lelei KEN Debut


Visiline Jepkesho KEN 2:21:37

Magdalyne Masai KEN 2:22:16

Buzunesh Gudeta ETH 2:22:38

Paskalia Jepkogei KEN 2:22:47

Meseret Meleka ETH 2:22:52

Agnes Keino KEN 2:23:26

Winfridah Moseti KEN 2:23:38

Naom Jebet KEN 2:24:33

Viola Kibiwott KEN 2:24:54

Sharon Arusho KEN 2:25:20

Matea Parlov Kostro CRO 2:25:45

Medina Armino ETH 2:26:12

Miriam Dattke GER 2:26:50

Viktoriia Kaliuzhna UKR 2:27:05

Tereza Hrochova CZE 2:29:06

Kinsey Middleton CAN 2:29:22

(10/27/2023) Views: 490 ⚡AMP
Mainova Frankfurt Marathon

Mainova Frankfurt Marathon

Frankfurt is an unexpectedly traditional and charming city, with half-timbered buildings huddled in its quaint medieval Altstadt (old city), cosy apple wine taverns serving hearty regional food, village-like neighbourhoods filled with outdoor cafes, boutiques and street art, and beautiful parks, gardens and riverside paths. The city's cache of museums is second in Germany only to Berlin’s, and its nightlife...


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