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AVON RUNNING: A great comeback by Sonja Oberem

10 k race of the AVON RUNNING 20th Berlin Women

2003-05-27

Probably the third placed woman in the race was more happy than the winner: While Lenah Cheruiyot from Kenyan crossed the line in the 10 k race of the AVON RUNNING 20th Berlin Womens Race in Tiergarten after 33:26 minutes, last years winner Kathrin Weßel (Berlin) just caught Sonja Oberem (Leverkusen) on the home straight to take second place in 33:34. But third place in 33:39 was all but disappointing for Sonja Oberem. It was her first race for nearly seven months. “I am very happy to have been able to run so well. It was just in the end that due to the pace I had not enough stamina“, said the 30-year-old. “It was great to run here in Berlin again.“ Second placed Kathrin Weßel will be running in the Regensburg Marathon next Sunday. “After that I will decide which races will be next“, the runner from SCC Berlin said.

The AVON RUNNING womens race was the perfect venue for Sonja Oberems comeback. A record number of 10,528 women and girls from 44 nations competed in the 20th edition of the 5 and 10 k event. Fears that Sonja Oberem might end her career due to a back problem have vanished on the roads of Berlin.

In hot weather with temperatures of around 30 degrees Celcius, Sonja Oberem – the best German marathon runner after the passed era of Katrin Dörre-Heinig and Uta Pippig – pushed the pace for the major part of the 10 k race. It was just in the last part of the race that she could not hold the lead. Lenah Cheruiyot then won in convincing style. Katrin Dörre-Heinig was also in the race, finishing fifth in 36:12 minutes.

When Sonja Oberem did not get rid of an inflammation of the sciatic nerve the breakdown came after the Athens Marathon on 3rd November last year. It had already been the fourth marathon race of the year for Sonja Oberem, who has an outstanding World Championships record in the marathon. Since Gothenburg in 1995 she has constantly progressed until Edmonton, finishing 8th, 7th, 6th and finally 5th in 2001. But Athens last year was one too much for Sonja Oberem. She had won Hamburg in April, took the bronze medal in the European Championships in August, ran the real,- BERLIN MARATHON in September (not seriously, but in 2:40:44 despite a stop for a TV interview) and finally won Athens. “After that I was finished. I had this back problem and was completely burnt out. I had no motivation and no fun in running any more. For months I was only cycling and I have thought of putting an end to it.“

It was Mark Milde, Berlins elite athletes manager, who then phoned Sonja Oberem and convinced her to run in Berlins womens race for the first time. That was a goal the athlete from Bayer Leverkusen needed. It was only six weeks ago that she had started running again. “But during all my training since then I have never run as fast as in todays race“, Sonja Oberem said. Running in Berlin brought her back the fun in her sport. “It was a great experience for me to run in a race with 10,000 women and the atmosphere was superb.“ Now she believes that she could still make it to Paris. “But I will only go, if I am in a certain shape. I will not travel to the World Championships as a tourist.“ Berlin might have paved the way for Paris for Sonja Oberem.


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