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Records at Zurich Marathon

zurich marathon 2015

At its 13th edition the Zurich Marathon enjoyed almost perfect conditions and new record numbers: 9’698 runners had registered for the event, 8’782 took the start and 8’675 made it to the finish. Seen these numbers the 50 cases that the first aid had to deal with are a tiny amount, all the more so as only two runners needed to be sent to the hospital for further checks.

The elite runners showed thrilling races: Japan’s Yoshiko Sakamoto scored a superior victory in the women’s race. In the men’s race Kenyan Edwin Kemboi Kiyeng attacked from a lead group of ten runners after 35 kilometres and crossed the finish line on his own. Pre-race favourite Yuki Kawauchi from Japan finished in 2nd. The Swiss athletes fought bravely: Adrian Lehmann posted a new personal best time and finished in 12th, Triathlon Olympic champion Nicola Spirig crossed the line in the women’s race in 2nd.

Almost perfect conditions attracted large number of spectators and record numbers of participants to the 13th edition of the Zurich marathon. 9’698 runners had registered for the event, 8’782 took to the start and 8’675 made it all the way to the finish. According to Bruno Lafranchi as president of the organizing committee only 50 participants needed to call for first aid treatment, with only two runners needing to be sent to hospital for further checks. The temperatures were still a bit low at the start at 8.30 am, there was not a single cloud on the sky and the roads were dry. But a breeze from the North made for some challenging conditions on the second half of the course. Still the conditions were favourable for fast, high-quality races – not only for the marathon but also for the Cityrun over a distance of almost 10 kilometres and the Teamrun. The course records remained untouched however, partially due to the wind and partially due to some tactical racing.

Unchallenged win for Yoshiko Sakamoto in the women’s race
Yoshiko Sakamoto was the big favourite for the women’s race: The Japanese had improved her personal best time in Osaka to 2:36.29 hours this January and thus had the best time of all female participants. She lived up to her reputation and moved into the lead of the women’s race soon after the start. From there she continued to expand her lead, reaching the finish on Zurich’s Mythenquai with an advantage of almost eight and a half minutes after 2:37.46 hours. «During the build-up for the Zurich Marathon I struggled with some pain in my legs. Because of that I’m quite satisfied to have gotten so close to my personal best time – and of course I’m happy to have won my first marathon in Europe in Zurich.»

Behind the superior Yoshiko Sakamoto, Nicola Spirig carefully paced herself to a second-place finish. «I had not planned to go any faster than 2:45 hours today, but it’s hard to start slowly when the crowd is so enthusiastic. I started a bit too fast, took it just a bit easier on the second and third ten-kilometre sections and then accelerated for the final ten kilometres. This worked out perfectly and I managed to go faster and faster in the finale, giving me an entirely new sensation of actually enjoying the final ten kilometres of a marathon. I’ve never had that before.» This strategy paid off: After having been relegated to fifth place at times, the Olympic triathlon champion posted the fastest time for the final ten kilometres and moved up into second place.

Edwin Kemboi Kyeng defies the cold and wins
In the men’s race Japan’s Yuki Kawauchi was the runner with the fastest personal best time. But a number of competitors from Kenya and Ethiopia also had times of around 2:10 hours on their respective record sheets. The result was a tactical race: Soon after the start a lead group of ten runners had formed. Yuki Kawauchi was the only non-African in this group. At kilometre 35 Kenya’s Edwin Kemboi Kyeng made the decisive move: «Before the race and on the initial kilometres I was really struggling with the cold, but this only got better as the race went on. As no one showed interest to take charge of the race, I decided to accelerate at the 35 kilometre mark. This worked out, and I managed to drop the others and run towards the finish line on my own.»

Behind the Kenyan Yuki Kawauchi delivered another proof of his fighting spirit: The Japanese runner had already been pushed to a lowly 7th place before he upped his pace and managed to move up to 2nd place within the final two kilometres. «It’s a good thing to finish my first marathon in Europe on the podium. Of course I would have liked to win and post a slightly better time in Zurich», Kawauchi commented after the race. Third-place finished Gebre Mekuant Ayenew from Ethiopia crossed the finish line only three seconds later. The fastest Swiss starter Adrian Lehmann crossed the finish line in 12th after 2:17.24 hours. «From the second kilometre I was all on my own, and due to the headwind I was struggling pretty badly from kilometre 30 to 35. Seen these circumstances I’m very satisfied with my 12th place and the new personal best time.»

85 nationalities – one passion: running!
Apart from the elite categories, the 13th Zurich Marathon also offered an opportunity for thousands of enthusiasts to test themselves over the iconic marathon distance. They did so with enthusiasm, and to cater to the needs of less trained runners, the Zurich Marathon also features the Teamrun format where the distance is split into four sections covered by as many different runners. The fastest team in this format was «TV Oerlikon 1» with a time of 2:21.06. And with the Cityrun, the event also has a run over a distance of almost 10 kilometres on offer. In this race the fastest competitors were Christian Mathys and Franziska Meier. Overall the participation at the 13th Zurich Marathon was very international, with no less than 85 countries being represented at the start.

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