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Lemi, Stockhecke win Zurich titles

Mona Stockhecke

No less than 8686 runners were treated to perfect weather conditions at the 12th Zurich Marathon. Unlike last year no new course records were being posted, but the races were not a bit less thrilling. The men’s race was won by 19 year-old newcomer Hayle Lemi from Ethiopia (2:10.40).

Germany’s Mona Stockhecke (2:34.04) won the women’s race.

The winners’ times might have been a bit slower than last year, but the races were all the more thrilling. In the men’s race a lead group of eleven runners was setting the pace for the first half of the distance, with last year’s winner Tadesse Abraham being a part of that group. But soon after Tadesse lost contact to the lead group and abandoned a bit later.

With only a few kilometres to go, only 12 seconds separated the first four runners at the 12th Zurich Marathon. In this situation, Hayle Lemi had the most power left to decisively distance his opponents in the finale. The only 19 year-old from Ethiopia crossed the finish line on the Mythenquai as the winner after 2:10.40 hours – about three minutes slower than when Abraham won last year’s edition. As he does not speak any English at all, the winner could not give a statement on his win, but Hayle Lemi chose to hand over his bouquet to a young fan who was cheering for the runners behind the barriers. The following three positions were taken by Kenyans Edwin Kiprop, Samson Kagia and Emmanuel Sikuku in this order.

As the first non-African, Russian Stepan Kivelev crossed the finish line in fifth. In the women’s race, Ethiopian Belaynesh Jida Bekele took the lead early on, but halfways into the race she got passed by Mona Stockhecke from Germany. Aided by two pace makers, the Hamburg resident was chasing the selection limit set by her national federation.

“My pace makers did a great job, but still I had to give it all right to the finish line. But chasing that selection limit certainly was an important factor for today’s win”, Stockhecke commented after her win.

On the way to the finish line, the German built a lead of more than two minutes on Belaynesh Jida Bekele with Turkey’s Ümmü Kiraz conceding another forty seconds.

Crossing the finish line in fifth behind Finland’s Anne-Mari Hyrvylainen, Ursula Spielmann-Jeitziner took the title of the Swiss national marathon champion.

“We may not have seen course records getting broken today in Zurich despite favourable weather conditions, but the races were all the more thrilling, so the spectators got what they came for”, Bruno Lafranchi as the head of the organisation commented.

“We are also satisfied that the numbers of participants were on a rise in all three race formats held this Sunday.”

The 13th edition of the Zurich Marathon will take place on 19th April 2015.

12th Zurich Marathon
Result Men:
1. Hayle Lemi, ETH, in 2:10.40 hours
2. Edwin Kiprop, KEN, 2:11.02 hours
3. Samson Kagia, KEN, 2:11.12 hours
4. Emmanuel Sikuku, KEN, 2:11.20 hours
5. Stepan Kiselev, RUS, 2:11.28 hours

Results Women
1. Mona Stockhecke, GER, in 2:34.04 hours
2. Belaynesh Jida Bekele, ETH, in 2:36.00 hours
3. Ümmü Kiraz, TUR, in 2:36.45 hours
4. Anne-Mari Hyrvylainen, FIN, in 2:39.54 hours
5. Ursula Spielmann-Jeitziner, Spiez, in 2:41.56 hours