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Save the Date September 29th 2019

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Ulrike Maisch sensationally wins European Marathon

<p">German Athletics has a female counterpart of Jan Fitschen: Four days

after the totally unexpected 10,000 m triumph Ulrike Maisch won today

surprisingly and in a spectacular way the gold medal in the marathon at the

European Championships in Gothenburg. Ulrike Maisch clocked 2:30:01 hours, a new personal best. She was well ahead of

Olivera Jevtic (Serbia/2:30:27) and the Russian Irina Permitina (2:30:53).

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The 29 year-old runner accomplished a novelty in Germany’s athletics history.

Never before a female German marathon runner won a gold medal at international

championships – neither at European Championships nor Olympic Games or World

Championships had this happened before. The only German runner who was able to

win marathon gold was Waldemar Cierpinski. 1976 and 1980 he was Olympic

Champion in the dress of the German Democratic Republic.

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„My goal was to be among the top eight. I have never thought about

winning a medal. That was totally utopian. I still can’t believe it,“ said

Ulrike Maisch after her victory. She came to Gothenburg with a personal best of

2:31:21 hours. She was ranked number 17 in

the start list. Her biggest success besides her victory at the international

inconsiderably Bonn Marathon in 2002 was the eighth place at the European

Championships in Munich four years ago.

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„I knew that the European Championships would be the only chance for a

good result. The Asians and Africans are unbeatable at World Championships or

Olympic Games. It was the chance and I took it,“ said Ulrike Maisch. Additionally

the marathon in Gothenburg didn’t have a strong field. From the European top

ten marathoners only three were competing at the European Championships. The

others prefer running at the lucrative fall marathons like Berlin, Chicago or New York. The British marathon

world record holder Paula Radcliffe is not running any marathon this year because

she is pregnant. But that doesn’t detract the achievement from Ulrike Maisch, after

all she beat competitors who were thought to be stronger.

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The allocation and the race development accommodated Ulrike Maisch and made

the „wonder of Gothenburg“ happen. „This race was made for me,“ said the runner

who had been preparing in Switzerland in high altitude. „The

pace in the beginning of the race was slow and the course was hilly – both were

good for me.” Favourites like the Italian Bruna Genovese, who finished fifth,

and latter silver medallist Olivera Jevtic led in windy weather conditions most

of the time and therefore got tired in the end. In contrast Ulrike Maisch ran

in the middle of the big leading group and saved energy.

<p">After 1:16:44 hours the leading group

passed the half marathon. At this stage two other Germans, Claudia Dreher (11th

in 2:33:53) and the silver medallist from Munich

2002, Luminita Zaituc, were running in the group as well. While Zaituc had to

pull out because of stomach problems, Susanne Hahn finished fourteenth in 2:36:17 and contributed to the bronze medal for the team.

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As both Russians Alevtina Biktimirova, winner of the Frankfurt marathon, and Irina

Permitina increased the pace together with Olivera Jevtic shortly after 25 k,

Ulrike Maisch was not following. „I knew that the pace would be too fast for

me. Instead I was running consistently my own race”. At 35 k Ulrike Maisch was

fourth, 41 seconds behind the leading trio. But the leaders miscalculated. One

after the other ran into problems and the advantage was melting.

 

„When I was

third I thought that I have a medal now, because I knew that nobody would be

able to overtake me. Then I suddenly saw the leader and thought that I would

have a chance.” Shortly after 40 k Ulrike Maisch overtook Irina Permitina as

well and won gold.

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The former track runner Ulrike Maisch came to the marathon six years

ago. Without proper marathon preparations she ran in her first marathon in Berlin. She finished 18 in a

time of 2:30:34. „My coach told me

afterwards that despite the lack of training I was running so good that I

should continue to run the marathon,” said Ulrike Maisch, who studies Spanish, French

and educational science. For her preparations for the European Championships

she took a term off from university. This investment paid off.

 

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