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Ethiopian duo seek Frankfurt glory

Daska, Frankfurt 2011

Daska, Frankfurt 2011

After the sensational signing of world marathon record holder Patrick Makau (Kenya/2:03:38) and three more runners with personal bests of sub 2:05:30 organisers of the BMW Frankfurt Marathon have now announced the top contenders of their women’s race.

Obviously the names are not as spectacular as those in the men’s field. But there are hopes that the 2:20 barrier could be broken for the first time in the history of Germany’s oldest city marathon. On 28th October defending champion Mamitu Daska will race against fellow-Ethiopian Bezunesh Bekele. Though entry for the 31st edition of the BMW Frankfurt Marathon is still possible it looks as if the capacity limit of 15,000 runners will be reached well before race weekend. The BMW Frankfurt Marathon is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.

With Mamitu Daska not only does the defending champion return to the BMW Frankfurt Marathon but also the course record holder. The men’s course record had developed into absolute world-class already some years ago. The climax then came a year ago when Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang clocked 2:03:42 and missed the world record by only four seconds. It was different for a long time with the women’s mark, which had been significantly less impressive for many years. But this began to change two years ago. Caroline Kilel (Kenya) won the race with 2:23:25 in 2010. Then Mamitu Daska improved this mark to 2:21:59 a year ago.

When Mamitu Daska, who turns 29 before the race next month, returns to Frankfurt she knows that she will have to run fast to succeed again. Another course record is likely when the defending champion clashes with fellow-Ethiopian Bezunesh Bekele. While Daska’s personal best still is the time from Frankfurt a year ago, Bekele has been quite a bit quicker. The 29 year-old improved to 2:20:30, when she was fourth in Dubai this January. Three years earlier Bekele had won the Dubai race with 2:24:02. After a second place in Berlin in 2010 she was the best placed Ethiopian woman in the World Championships’ marathon in Daegu (South Korea) a year later. In hot weather conditions Bezunesh Bekele finished fourth. After her improvement in Dubai she will now be eager to break the 2:20 mark on the fast course in Frankfurt.

While Daska and Bekele look like the favourites there are three women who could produce an upset on 28th October. Georgina Rono (Kenya) knows the course from her sixth place finish in Frankfurt in 2009 (2:31:49). In 2011 she had a very good year, taking wins in Hannover (2:31:19) and then in Eindhoven with a big improvement to 2:24:33. But her best performance probably was at this year’s Boston Marathon, where she finished third after running in the leading group until the final stage of the race. Due to the very hot weather conditions in Boston times were much slower than usual. Georgina Rono clocked 2:33:09 in this prestigious competition. The other two to be watched are Fatuma Sado (Ethiopia), who took this year’s Los Angeles Marathon with 2:25:39, and Agnes Jeruto Barsosio. The Kenyan won her debut marathon in Duesseldorf this spring, breaking the course record. She ran 2:25:49, improving the old mark by almost a minute.


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