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Tadesse and Stublic set new Zurich records

Abraham Tadesse in Zurich

Abraham Tadesse in Zurich

At the 11th edition of the Zurich Marathon, the course records were broken despite low temperatures and grey skies: Tadesse Abraham (Eritrea) set a time of 2:07.44 hours and Croatian Lisa Stublic destroyed the old course record with a time of 2:25.44.

With 7802 participants competing in the three disciplines Marathon, teamrun and 10km cityrun, the event was an impressive success. On the early Sunday morning the temperatures were just a tad above zero, when 7802 runners took on their races at 8.30am. While some only ran the 10km cityrun, others competed alone or in teams of four over the classic distance of 42.195 kilometres. With no rain or wind, the conditions were ideal for the athletes to break the existing course records or try to satisfy their respective federation’s selection criteria for the World and European championships. And some of the athletes made the best of this opportunity.

African domination in the men’s race

In the men’s race, Tadesse Abraham from Eritrea moved into the lead early on in the race. Up to kilometre thirty, he got some support by Kenya’s Edwin Kiprop Korir who served as a pacemaker, but then Tadesse Abraham set off on his own and posted an incredibly fast last quarter of the race. Tadesse’s winning time was 35 seconds better than Viktor Röthlin’s course record set in 2007 and about two minutes faster than his personal best. «It’s incredible, I would have never thought such a good time to be possible. I coped well with the cold, and I continued to give everything to the very end. Now my next big goals are next year’s European championships in Zurich.» Note that next year Tadesse Abraham will be competing for Switzerland as he’s about to get the Swiss citizenship. Korir managed to make it to the finish in second ahead of his compatriot Samson Mungai Kagia.

Croatia’s Lisa Stublic runs into a new dimension

In the women’s race, there was one clear favourite: Born and raised in the United States, Lisa Stublic is now competing for Croatia. The other women could only follow the diminutive runner for the first eight kilometres, then Stublic set off on her own and continued at a steady and very fast pace. As she kept going right to the finish line, she was more than four minutes faster as Denmark’s Anne Met Jensen had been in 2004, posting an impressive new course record of 2:25.44 hours. This also was an improvement of her personal best time by more than five minutes. «Breaking the course record was my clear objective, and I managed to do that. But I honestly did not expect to post such a fast time.» No wonder the second-placed Ukrainian Tetyana Holovchenko lost almost five and a half minutes to the winner, while Ethiopia’s Tigirst Sheni Abdi made it to third place.

Reasons to be happy for the race organizers

From the race organizers’ perspective there were plenty of reasons to be happy, as the head of the organization Bruno Lafranchi pointed out: «The early date and the tough, long-lasting winter have cost the Zurich Marathon some participants. But the performances in the elite categories were all the more impressive, and the new course records set by Lisa Stublic and Tadesse Abraham were not something that could be expected. I’m particularly happy about the fact that Michael Ott and Christian Kreienbühl as the two fastest Swiss runners finished in fifth and seventh in the men’s race and that no less than five athletes of Swiss Athletics managed to satisfy the selection criteria for the World and the European championships, respectively.» The 12th edition of the Zurich Marathon will be held on April 6th 2014.

image credit: Marc Weiler

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