The Bewag BERLIN HALF MARATHON lined up with top athletes like never before:
2004-03-30The 24th Bewag BERLIN HALF MARATHON that will start next Sunday on the boulevard Unter den Linden (skaters: 10:20 a.m., runners: 10:40 a.m.) will include the highest class athletes ever. SCC RUNNING has already received 15,354 registrations from 62 countries for the by far largest and most important international race over the half marathon distance of 21.0975km. In addition to the runners and skaters, this includes power walkers and wheelchair competitors, as well as 597 starters for the Bewag FUN RUN over the distance of 3.5 km (start: 11 a.m.).
With the anticipated late registrations, a total number of starters is expected that should be in the range of last year’s event (17,692 participants). "Following the great leaps in development that the Bewag BERLIN HALF MARATHON experienced in the past years, we are satisfied that we have now stabilised at this high level,” explained Rüdiger Otto, the head of SCC RUNNING. With an eye on the elite runners, Race Director Mark Milde said: "If the weather plays along, we hope to have a world class time at least for the men.”
There will be four men with world-class best times of under 61 minutes at the start on Sunday. Among them is last year’s champion Paul Kirui (Kenya), who currently holds the world’s fastest time of 60:22 minutes. Although the Kenyan Rodgers Rop was faster with a time of 59:49 minutes last Sunday in Lisbon, the course goes 40 metres downhill, so that the time does not meet the requirements to be included in the list of fastest times. Paul Kirui will meet his fellow countrymen Christopher Cheboiboch (60:33), Daniel Rono (60:14) and James Kwambai (60:38) on Sunday. For the women, Magdaline Chemjor, who also was last year’s winner, will be at the start, with an improved personal best of 69:39 minutes.
Kathrin Weßel (SCC Berlin) and Susanne Ritter (LG Braunschweig), both German runners, also have a chance at a top ranking. The 36-year-old Kathrin Weßel has a personal best for the half marathon of 70:47 minutes (her winning time in Berlin 10 years ago). Susanne Ritter is eleven years younger, and nine days ago she demonstrated her calibre at the World Cross Country Championships, where she placed 23rd in the long distance. She hopes to use the Bewag BERLIN HALF MARATHON to qualify for the World Half Marathon Championships, for which she has to improve her personal best to 72:30 minutes.
Not only the attractive start and finish area at the Schloßplatz (Palace Square) is new at this Bewag BERLIN HALF MARATHON. The sport fair BERLIN VITAL Spring is also celebrating its premiere. The event, which includes a broad programme in addition to the race number distribution, will take place from Thursday to Sunday in the Berlin Fairgrounds at the Radio Tower (Funkturm).
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