Smashing the British record Eilish McColgan took the GENERALI BERLIN HALF MARATHON with 65:43. This is also a European lead and the Scot became the fourth fastest European half marathon runner ever. The 32 year-old improved her own national record time of 66:26 by 43 seconds. With around five kilometers to go Eilish McColgan, who will run her marathon debut in London later this month, overtook the leading Tsigie Gebreselama in cold and windy conditions. The silver medallist from the World Cross Country Championships finished second in 66:13 while fellow-Ethiopian Yalemget Yaregal took third in 66:27. Deborah Schöneborn, who competes for Marathon Team Berlin, was the fastest German in 12th position with a time of 72:12.
The fastest runner on the start list was the winner at Brandenburg Gate: Sabastian Sawe finished in a strong 59:00 while fellow-Kenyan and defending champion Alex Kibet was second with 59:11. Surprisingly a pacemaker finished in third place: Bravin Kiprop of Kenya crossed the line in 59:22. Samuel Fitwi was the fastest German runner with a personal best of 61:44 in 9th place.
A total of 35,515 athletes from 131 countries entered the 42nd edition of the GENERALI BERLIN HALF MARATHON. 34,458 runners competed in the half marathon, making it one of the world’s biggest races over this distance.
It was Tsigie Gebreselama, the silver medallist of the World Cross Country Championships earlier this year, who pushed the pace early and left behind Eilish McColgan und Yalemget Yaregal around the 5k mark. A quick 10k split of 30:44 then pointed towards a finishing time well under the course record of 65:02. However the 22 year-old, who had been ill with fever earlier in the week, could not hold her pace in the second half. Running against the wind most of the time now Eilish McColgan reduced the gap of around 20 seconds and finally passed her rival. “Breezy and cold conditions, I am used to this,“ said the runner from Scotland, who became the first British woman to take the women’s race of the GENERALI BERLIN HALF MARATHON. “This is a big personal best. I think with this time I am in a good position for my marathon debut in London,“ said Eilish McColgan, who will run the London Marathon on 23rd April. Her winning time was the fourth fastest ever run in the history of the GENERALI BERLIN HALF MARATHON.
In a fast men’s race the leading group passed the 10k mark in 27:56, which pointed to a finishing time of just under 59 minutes. It was then Sabastian Sawe who kept the pace high during the second half of the race despite the windy conditions. Behind him one after another dropped back. With little over one kilometer to go the last remaining rival began to struggle as well: Defending champion Alex Kibet could not hold on. “I really wanted to run a fast time and felt strong, so I pushed the pace“, said 28 year-old Sabastian Sawe, who has a PB of 58:02. In Berlin the Kenyan clocked the fifth fastest time in the history of the race with his winning time of 59:00. It is also the sixth fastest in the world this year.
There were very promising results from three German elite runners, who all achieved personal bests of sub 62:00. “We have helped each other during the race,“ said Samuel Fitwi, who improved by twelve seconds to 61:44 for ninth place. With this result he moved up to tenth position in the German all-time list. His next big goal will now be the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON on 24th September. Right behind him Aaron Bienenfeld and Sebastian Hendel took 10th and 11th positions with 61:51 and 61:52 respectively.
Sabastian Sawe KEN 59:00
Alex Kibet KEN 59:11
Bravin Kiprop KEN 59:22
Eilish McColgan GBR 65:43
Tsigie Gebreselama ETH 66:13
Yalemget Yaregal ETH 66:27
Felix Rijhnen and Josie Hofmann fastest inline skaters again
The inline skaters also offered thrilling races at the GENERALI BERLIN HALF MARATHON. In the men's race, Felix Rijhnen from Darmstadt won in 30:53 minutes (Powerslide Matter World) ahead of his team mate Bart Swings (30:54) from Belgium. Both were able to break away from the field after only three kilometres and constantly increase their lead. Martin Ferrié (FRA/EOSkates World Team) completed the podium in third place (32:58). "My first victory as a dad is something very special for me," revealed Rijhnen after the race, who became a father two months ago. "We had some very strong headwinds along the way, so the course record didn't matter today," said the Olympic champion on the speed skating mass start Bart Swings, who, like Rijhnen, completed his first inline race since the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON today. In addition to the World Championships, the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON will also be his top priority in 2023. The winner of the women's race is Josie Hofmann (Powerslide World Team) from Gera. She finished in 36:58 minutes with a razor-thin lead over Marine Lefeuvre (FRA/EOSkates World Team). Third place went to Michelle Uhrig from Berlin (38:23). "My goal was to start at a very high pace from the beginning in order to shake off as many competitors as possible on the way. I knew that I’m strong enough, but at the moment I still lack the freshness for close mass sprints," Hofmann explained her successful tactics after the race.
With their victories Josie Hofmann and Felix Rijhnen now also lead in the GERMAN INLINE CUP, which also celebrated it‘s season opening today. The final of the race series will be held at the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON Inlineskating on 23 September, for which registration is still possible.