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Chepkwony takes Zurich title

Demanding conditions, thrilling races and a ticket for London’s Olympic Games

Franklin Chepkwony wins Zurich Marathon 2012

Franklin Chepkwony wins Zurich Marathon 2012

At the 10th anniversary of the Zurich marathon, the weather put the participants to a tough test. Nevertheless, more than 7600 starters made it to the finish. The men’s race was won by Franklin Chepkwony from Kenya, the women’s winner was Workenesh Tola, and Swiss national champion Maja Neuenschwander was fast enough to qualify for London’s Olympic games.

The month of April put the participants at the 10th Zurich Marathon to a serious test: First the sky was clouded, but there was no rain yet. Some 15 minutes into the race however, heavy rain set in and did not stop for most of the elite’s race. Many of the enthusiast participants even got into a hailstorm, but also enjoyed some sunny minutes on their way around Lake Zurich. The men’s race turned into an African affair, as a large group of runners from Kenya and Ethiopia set off to compete for the win. Just a few kilometres from the finish, it all came down to a face-off of two athletes from Kenya and two athletes from Ethiopia.

Kenya versus Ethiopia in the men’s race The two Kenyans Franklin Chepkwony and Shadrack Kemboi were faster than their rivals Hailu Begashaw and Tesfaye Girma Bekele, and in the end Chepkwony proved to be the strongest. «Because of the rain, the wind and the cold temperatures, this was a really hard race. As this was my first win at a marathon race in Europe, I am very happy. After all, I only managed to distance Kemboi on the penultimate kilometre.» The entire top10 of the men’s overall standing was made up of athletes from Africa, whereas the two fastest Swiss runners battling for the National championship title finished in 11th and 12th respectively.

Two winners in the women’s race In the women’s race, the big story was the attempt of Switzerland’s strongest marathon runner Maja Neuenschwander to qualify for London’s Olympic marathon race. A few months ago in Berlin, she had missed out on the time required by the Swiss federation by only 30 seconds. This time, the weather seemed to be her toughest adversary. But Neuenschwander battled the elements, showed a strong race and was more than a minute faster than the required time. The victory went to Workenesh Tola from Ethiopia however: As she was not in need of a fast time, Tola chose to mark Neuenschwander closely and drop her with an acceleration on the penultimate kilometre to win by a margin of just over 30 seconds.

The 11th Zurich Marathon is scheduled for Sunday, 7th April 2013.

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