Kenyan athletes will be renewing rivalry with their Ethiopian counterparts at the Frankfurt marathon as the German race returns to action tomorrow after a two-year break occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Organisers have assembled a strong elite field, and all indications point to a showdown pitting Kenyan marathon stars against their Ethiopian counterparts, in both the men and women’s races.
Frankfurt has been a Kenyan affair, with the country’s long distance runners priding in the fastest times on the course.
In 2010, former marathon world record holder Wilson Kipsang set the 2:03:42 course record at the 2011 edition, and in the women’s marathon, Valary Ayiabei holds the course record after running a brilliant race in 2019.
Previously, in 2010, Kipsang, who was then 28, took advantage of favourable weather conditions to win in 2:04:57.
Eight men comprising athletes from Kenya and Ethiopia assembled for the race, have run under 2:09. They are Martin Kosgey (2:06:41), Charles Ndiema (2:08:12) and Brimin Misoi (2:08:41) of Kenya and a host of Ethiopian elite men led by Getesfa Getahun with a 2:05:28 personal best.
Five women, among them three Kenyans, a Ugandan and one Ethiopian have run under 2:24, and will be eying glory.
Kosgey is heading to Frankfurt where he has placed second twice in 2016 and 2018. He will be returning with the hope of breaking the second-place jinx in the German race, tomorrow.
Kosgey who finished fourth in 2017 ran his marathon PB in the same course when he finished second in 2018.
Alongside Kosgey, Charles Ndiema who braved rainy conditions to lead compatriots Onesmus Kiplagat, Bernard Kipchirchir to a clean podium sweep at last year’s Graz Marathon, has also set his sights on making history in Frankfurt tomorrow.
The Ethiopian contingent comprises young talents such as 24-year-old Betesfa Getahun, who ran his 2:05:28 marathon PB on his marathon debut in Amsterdam three years ago.
Another youngster, 22-year-old Gebru Redahgne is the second fastest in the Frankfurt start list, taking to the race his 2:05:58 PB, which he wrote in Barcelona in May this year.
“After a two-year break caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, we have been able to put together strong elite fields and we will have a big, impressive field of mass runners on the start line,” race director Jo Schindler said.
“We are looking forward to a Mainova Frankfurt Marathon that will continue with the tradition of past events.”