Jörg Little / dpa / svs
The 47th Berlin Marathon produced two surprise winners on Sunday: Favorite Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia) had to admit defeat to his compatriot Guye Adola and finished third. Philipp Pfluger missed the target time and finished 16th. In the women's race, debutant Gotytom Gebreslase was also won by an Ethiopian. Rabea Schöneborn came in ninth as the best German.
Guye Adola and debutant Gotytom Gebreslase ensured a double victory for Ethiopia at the BMW Berlin Marathon. The 30-year-old Adola, who finished second in Berlin four years ago, won in 2:05:45 hours ahead of Bethwel Yegon (Kenya), who finished at the Brandenburg Gate in 2:06:14 hours. It wasn't Kenenisa Bekele's day: The Ethiopian superstar had to settle for third place in 2 in his failed hunt for the world record set by Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya), who ran a time of 2:01:39 hours in Berlin 2018: 06:47 settle. Philipp Pfluger (LT Haspa Marathon Hamburg) took 16th place as the fastest German in 2:15:01 hours.
The pacemakers led the leading group through the first part of the race at a world record pace. In addition to Kenenisa Bekele and Guye Adola, who surprisingly finished second in Berlin four years ago and set an unofficial debut world record of 2:03:36 hours, four other runners unexpectedly joined the leading group: the two Kenyans Philemon Kacheran and Abraham Kipyatich and Ethiopians Tesfaye Lencho and Olika Adugna. This group passed the 10-kilometer mark in 28:47 minutes. They were on course for a world record finish time of just under 2:01:30.
After Olika Adugna was the first runner not to keep up the pace, it was surprisingly Kenenisa Bekele who fell back a bit. The defending champion lost contact with the leaders between 17 and 18 kilometers because he couldn't keep up the pace. With a half-marathon split time of 60:48 minutes, the leading group was still close to the world record, but Bekele, who passed this point after 61:00 minutes, was no longer. The fact that the three-time long-distance Olympic champion was running at the front again after around 27 kilometers was due to the fact that the leading group had slowed down significantly. However, with kilometer times of well over 3:00 minutes in some cases, the world record quickly fell out of reach.
Pflier misses target time
Just before kilometer 35, Guye Adola broke away from Kenenisa Bekele and already looked like the sure winner. But it got exciting again, because Bethwel Yegon came from further behind to the very front. Shortly before 40 kilometers, Guye Adola, who had only been beaten by Kenya's superstar Eliud Kipchoge in Berlin in 2017, was able to improve again and finally ran to the biggest win of his career. “Even before the start I figured I had a chance of beating Kenenisa. It was very warm and my feet burned in my shoes," said Guye Adola, while Kenenisa Bekele explained: "The big problem was that I'm missing quite a bit of training due to the pandemic. As a result, things didn't go as well as hoped. But my career is not over yet.”
Things didn't go as planned for Philipp Pflug either. He had hoped for a best time of less than 2:12 hours and was on course after the first half with an interim time of 65:55 minutes. "I'm not satisfied with the result. After an hour it got uncomfortably hot, so my pacemaker retired earlier than planned. I ran the last 17 kilometers alone and then the last five kilometers were all about getting to the finish,” said Philipp Pflug. "I'm glad I was able to pull this off, even if the time is out of the question."
Three Ethiopians in front, Schöneborn in the top ten
In very warm weather with over 20 degrees Celsius in the last part of the elite race, there was no chance of records for the women this time either. However, Gotytom Gebreslase made a high-class debut, surprising the favorites and triumphing in 2:20:09 hours. This is the third fastest time worldwide this year. Hiwot Gebrekidan was second in 2:21:23 hours. In third place, Helen Tola completed an all-Ethiopian podium in 2:23:05. Rabea Schöneborn (LG Nord Berlin; 2:28:49 h) was the best German runner in ninth place.
For a long time, the women's lead group ran at a pace that resulted in a target time of under 2:19 hours. In addition to the world best of the year Hiwot Gebrekidan (2:19:35), Tola and the Kenyan Fancy Chemutai, Gebreslase surprisingly ran in the first group, having reached the half-marathon point after 69:19 minutes. It was Gebreslase who was able to pick up the pace with just ten kilometers to go and pull away.
At kilometer 35 she was still on course with an interim time of 1:54:54 hours for a top-class finishing time of 2:18:30 hours. But the newcomer had to pay tribute to the heat in the last few kilometers. She slowed down significantly and ended up missing a debut time of under 2:20 hours by just ten seconds. “Even though it was my first marathon, my goal was to win the race. It's a very good track, I want to come back to Berlin,” said Gotytom Gebreslase.
Great experience for Schöneborn
Rabea Schöneborn also struggled with the heat, having run the first half in 73:56 minutes, but then not being able to run a faster second section as hoped to to reach her best time of 2:27:03 hours. "It was a great experience, although I'm not satisfied with the time," said the Berliner. “I approached it quite cautiously and consciously let it go without paying attention to the time. But my legs didn't want to and then I just made the best of it. It was pretty intense with the heat.”
At the 47th edition of the BMW Berlin Marathon, 24,796 runners from 139 nations started under strict hygiene rules. The race in Berlin was the largest marathon in the world since the beginning of the corona pandemic.
For the full results...