45th BMW BERLIN-MARATHON on 16 September 2018

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European Cross Country Championships in Germany: Sergej Lebed takes fifth title, Hayley Yelling wins and steps in for Paula Radcliffe

the winner explained: „I know the Spanish guys. They are very strong and you have to pay attention to them the whole time.“


Hayley Yelling and Sergej Lebed won the gold medals at the European Cross Country Championships in Heringsdorf on the German island Usedom.

While Lebed broke a record winning for the fifth time (1998, 2001, 2002 and 2003), it was the first time for Hayley Yelling and the biggest success of her career.

Sergej Lebed
Winner men

Hayley Yelling
Winner women

Jo Pavey
3rd place women

Alexander Lubina

In the men’s race over 9.640 metres Sergej Lebed promptly took the initiative and had placed himself in right behind the Spaniard Juan Carlo de la Ossa who was providing the speed. In the fifth of seven laps the 29-year old broke away from de la Ossa. Constantly increasing his lead, Lebed finally reached the finish in 27:31 minutes.
De la Ossa came in 23 seconds later and got the silver medal. Third place went to the Frenchman Driss Maazouzi in 28:05 minutes.

I know the Spanish guys. They are very strong and you have to pay attention
„When it came down to the fourth lap, I felt great. At that moment I knew that I will win the race“, Sergej Lebed explained. On the question, how he estimated his sharpest pursuer, the winner explained: „I know the Spanish guys. They are very strong and you have to pay attention to them the whole time.“
For some time it looked like Driss Maazouzi, the native Moroccan who starts for France, would have a chance to fight for the gold medal. He had caught up to de la Ossa and Lebed. But the Ukrainian increased the pace and the indoor champion at 1500 metres in 2003 was defeated. „After 6 k I could not follow anymore because 3 k are already too long for me mentally. But I like x-country because that is my base for running during outdoor season“, explained Driss Maazouzi.

A sprint finish
The women’s race over 5.640 metres was more exciting. After three out of four laps there were still nine runners at the front. At the end there was a sprint finish. It was only in the last 50 metres that Hayley came from behind to take the gold. She won in 18:06 minutes before Justyna Bak (Poland/18:07) and her countrywomen Jo Pavey (18:08). Fourth was Mihaela Botezan (Romania), who had exactly the same time as Pavey.

„On the last 50 metres I thought I would become 4th, but then I had to think about the last Olympics for which I did not qualify due to 14/100 of a second. Thus, I fought and won – I am so happy“, said Britain’s Cross Champion of 2003. So Hayley Yelling replaced Paula Radcliffe perfectly. The title holder, who just won the New-York Marathon a month ago, did not defend her title.

The European Cross Country Championships had practically no publicity
Unfortunately the people who drove on the island Usedom on Sunday morning noticed nothing from the athletic event. No posters, no advertising banners, not even a sign. Thereby for the first time the European Cross Country Championships were organized in Germany. After Berlin had gained the World Championships in Athletics in 2009 eight days ago with an excellent presentation, the European Cross Country Championships had practically no publicity. That was obviously particularly because of the regional aligners, who did not understand to win public.

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