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marathon hamburg

Anja Scherl delivers fresh boost to Germany’s hopes for distance success

By | Allgemein @en

The success of Anja Scherl in the Haspa Marathon Hamburg on Sunday is a refreshing reminder that an athlete, by virtue of their own application, support of those around them and ambition to represent their country, can combine high level training with a full-time job to achieve results which astonish even themselves.
By running 2:27:50 to finish third in Hamburg, Scherl took an astounding 8:41 off her previous best, set in the same race a year ago and made herself a virtual certainty when the German selectors announce their Olympic Marathon team for Rio in May. Her target beforehand had been to run under 2:30 and put herself in contention for a team place, but her performance on a day when strong winds made the latter stages far from easy was a further revelation in a year of impressive progression.

Having improved her marathon times from Hamburg 2014 by just over 20 minutes, the 30 year old Scherl is fast making inroads on the German long distance charts. The last time a German woman finished as high as third in Hamburg was 2009 and that was the former European champion Ulrike Maisch with the considerably slower time of 2:34:28.

Strong improvements in athletics can lead to suspicion these days, but the story of Anja Scherl’s rise points to commitment, ability and planning. Working 40 hours a week in a software company alongside such high level training demands skills of time management not only from Anja but her partner and coach, Marco. They have clearly found the right balance. While she can at times work from home, a regular working day entails getting up at 0545 and finishing work by 1600 before training.

The goals this year have been twofold, securing a place in the half marathon for the European Championships in Amsterdam in July, then fulfilling her dream of the Olympic Marathon.

“Last year I ran the “B” standard in Cologne for a team place in the European Championships but the competition is tough in Germany for team places so I was determined to keep my place. My target of running in the Europeans and wearing the national vest was my big dream, that was my motivation.”

She achieved that in style, benefitting from her first ever winter training camp by running a personal best of 71:11 in Barcelona on February 14 this year. This performance clearly indicated that a big improvement on her 2:36:31 from Hamburg last year was on the cards. She went with the early fast pace this year, preferring as before not to have a designated male pacemaker.
“Last year I found myself in a group which suited me in terms of pace so I went with them. This time was similar, there was always support from somewhere, a man would provide shelter from the wind. Sometimes I think people are too fixated about having a pacemaker assigned to them. I think it’s important to listen to your body.”

Such an approach is also the reality of championship marathons. Numerous women are capable of clocking fast times with male pacemakers in big city races, but some appear lost when faced by the reality of competition without pacers.
Having made a breakthrough with her personal best for the half marathon in Barcelona in February, the omens were good for a big improvement at the marathon in Hamburg.

“The signs were there in the build-up, following my half marathon, but I never imagined this kind of improvement.”
Her time of 2:27:50 also makes Anja Scherl the second fastest European woman in the marathon this year. She lacks nothing in incentive as she returns home to Bayreuth in northern Bavaria to resume training. The trip to Amsterdam for the European Championships is already booked but she’ll wait till the selection announcement before starting work on her Olympic Marathon plans.

Germany’s Arne Gabius has become a standard bearer for European marathon running in the past two years, breaking the national record with 2:08:33 in Frankfurt last October to give a strong indication that he could be a leading finisher in the marathon in Rio. Now Anja Scherl has provided the rest of Europe’s women with another fine example.

Text and interview by Race-News-Service

Meselech Melkamu breaks course record, Tesfaye Abera wins Hamburg

By | Allgemein @en

Ethiopia’s Meselech Melkamu smashed the course record by more than two minutes in the Haspa Marathon Hamburg. Finishing in 2:21:54 despite windy conditions she made a strong statement regarding the selection of Ethiopia’s marathon Olympic team. Fellow-Ethiopian and defending champion Meseret Hailu was second with 2:26:26 while Germany’s Anja Scherl caused an upset with a tremendous run for third place. Improving by more than eight minutes to 2:27:50 she has secured Olympic selection.

Ethiopia’s Tesfaye Abera took the men’s race in 2:06:58. Achieving his second marathon win this year after taking Dubai in a world lead of 2:04:23, he should gain selection for the Olympic team. Kenyans Philemon Rono and Josphat Kiprono followed in second and third with 2:07:20 and 2:10:44 respectively.

Women’s Race: Fast Pace from the Start

Meselech Melkamu dictated the pace together with the defending champion Meseret Hailu from the start with the Kenyan Sarah Chepchirchir pressing at their heels. That scenario came to an end just before 20km when Melkamu broke away in the style which reminded onlookers of her best performance of 2:21:01. She went through halfway in 71:04 and a 15 second lead over Hailu and Chepchirchir. Despite the strong headwind at times during the second half of the race, Melkamu maintained her pace and the pursuing duo were unable to cut the deficit. Meseret Hailu finished second in 2:26:26 but Chepchirchir faded to seventh place in 2:30:08.
“I think that without the wind I could have run under 2:20 today because it’s a fast course. This was one of the best performances of my career. I hope it will be enough to win Olympic selection,” said the 30 year old Meselech Melkamu, who is also the African record holder at 10,000m. She improved the course record by Netsanet Abeyo by 2:18 minutes. The fellow-Ethiopian ran 2:24:12 in 2012.

For much of the race Anja Scherl was in seventh place. Her objective from the start was to run the Olympic qualifying time for the German team. Her race splits showed she was on course to break 2:30 and the qualifying time was 2:30:30. But there was an added proviso – to be relatively sure of booking a trip to Rio, Anja Scherl had to run faster than Anna Hahner, who ran 2:30:19 in Berlin last autumn.

When she went through halfway in 73:57 in seventh place, Anja Scherl admitted she was startled: “I was really surprised by the time, even a little shocked. But until 32 kilometres I had no problems at all, it was a fantastic race for me,” said Scherl, who ran as Anja Schneider before her marriage. Even the strong headwinds over the second half failed to slow her pace. By 35 km she had improved to fifth, moving up two more places in the last five kilometres. “I still can’t believe yet that I’ve qualified for Rio,” said Anja Scherl, whose place in the Olympic Marathon team is now guaranteed. She took a giant slice off her personal best with an improvement of 8:41 minutes and became the eighth fastest German woman in the marathon of all time.

There was also good news further down the women’s field: Leila Luik ensured that Estonia would be sending all three sisters to the Olympic marathon after she ran 2:42:11. Her target had been to break her federation’s qualifying time of 2:45 which means she should now join her sisters Liina and Lily in the marathon squad.

Men’s Race: Times gone with the Wind

Wind was a strong factor as shown by the race splits and the way the men’s race developed. In the early stages a tail wind gave the leading group an extra boost between 7 and 15 kilometres, giving them a split time for the latter of 44:17 and on course for a finishing time of 2:04:30. The course record of 2:05:30, set by Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge three years ago, appeared to be in danger.

They couldn’t maintain this kind of pace consistently as headwinds began to blow strongly. The leading group comprising ten men reached halfway in 62:49 but by 30km the numbers were cut in half. This quintet consisted of four runners plus the Kenyan pacemaker Albert Kangogo and reached 30km in 1:29:29. The pacemaker then dropped out, leaving the outcome to be decided between Tesfaye Abera and Philemon Ron along with the Ethiopian Abayneh Ayele and Eritrea’s Yekeber Bayabel. It came down to a duel between the lanky Abera, 1.92m tall, and the diminutive Rono. After 35km the Ethiopian made a break but the Kenyan was back with him two kilometres later. The decisive attack came shortly before 40km when Abera attacked and Rono had no response.

“It was a good race for me. We ran in a big group and worked well together which led to very fast splits at the beginning. When I led later on, the wind was very strong,” said the 24 year old Tesfaye Abera. As far as his chances of Olympic selection were concerned, the Ethiopian, who is the fastest marathoner this year with his winning time of 2:04:23 in Dubai, commented: “What is important is that when the selectors decide, I am still the fastest Ethiopian.”


1. Tesfaye Abera ETH 2:06:58
2. Philemon Rono KEN 2:07:20
3. Josphat Kiprono KEN 2:10:44
4. Abayneh Ayele ETH 2:11:49
5. Merhawi Kesete ERI 2:12:21
6. Ezekiel Chebii KEN 2:12:45
7. Ivan Fernandez ESP 2:12:55
8. Abdelhadi El Hachimi BEL 2:13:10

1. Meselech Melkamu ETH 2:21:54
2. Meseret Hailu ETH 2:26:26
3. Anja Scherl GER 2:27:50
4. Monika Stefanowicz POL 2:28:26
5. Madai Perez MEX 2:29:27
6. Kelly Arias COL 2:29:36
7. Sarah Chepchirchir KEN 2:30:08
8. Adriana da Silva BRA 2:31:23

Meselech Melkamu breaks course record, Tesfaye Abera wins Hamburg

By | Allgemein @en

Ethiopia’s Meselech Melkamu smashed the course record by more than two minutes in the Haspa Marathon Hamburg. Finishing in 2:21:54 despite windy conditions she made a strong statement regarding the selection of Ethiopia’s marathon Olympic team. Fellow-Ethiopian and defending champion Meseret Hailu was second with 2:26:26 while Germany’s Anja Scherl caused an upset with a tremendous run for third place. Improving by more than eight minutes to 2:27:50 she has secured Olympic selection.

Ethiopia’s Tesfaye Abera took the men’s race in 2:06:58. Achieving his second marathon win this year after taking Dubai in a world lead of 2:04:23, he should gain selection for the Olympic team. Kenyans Philemon Rono and Josphat Kiprono followed in second and third with 2:07:20 and 2:10:44 respectively.
Please note: A more detailed press release with photos will follow in the afternoon.

Text: Race News Service


Leila Luik chases Olympic qualifying standard, triplets from Estland could make it for Rio

By | Allgemein @en

There could well be an Olympic novelty in the women’s marathon in Rio this summer: Estand’s triplets Leila, Liina and Lily Luik aim to start together in Brazil. Two of them will run Sunday’s Haspa Marathon Hamburg. While Lily Luik will miss the race due to an injury she has already achieved the Olympic qualifying standard. 30 year-old Liina has run sub 2:45 as well, but Leila still has to achieve this on Sunday. However with a personal best of 2:37:11 she is the fastest of the three. Watch the video interview with Leila and Liina Luik here.

Rono is here to win – and challenging the Ethiopians

By | Allgemein @en

Philemon Rono is ready for an upset in the Haspa Marathon Hamburg. While the Ethiopians are regarded as favourites the Kenyan will return once again to Hamburg. Having run his debut here in 2014 with a personal best of 2:07:07 for third place he was fourth a year later in 2:08:18. „I am here to win,“ Rono says. He is another addition to the superb field that we will see at the Haspa Marathon Hamburg on Sunday.

Podcast Philemon Rono

Philemon Rono Pre Hamburg Marathon
Photo: Rono at the 2015 edition of the Haspa Marathon Hamburg

Credit: Race News Service

Ethiopians plan fast Hamburg race in battle for Olympic places

By | Allgemein @en

A quintet from the impressive stable of Ethiopia’s world class runners will be aiming for top times with Olympic selection in mind at the Haspa Marathon Hamburg on Sunday. Among those striving for the trip to Rio will be the fastest man in the world at the distance this year, Tesfaye Abera. The 24 year old triumphed in Dubai in January with his lifetime best of 2:04:24. His key rivals should include compatriots Feyisa Bekele and Abayneh Ayele, the latter having finished fourth in the Word Half Marathon Championships in March. In the women’s field, Meseret Hailu returns to defend her title and this looks a tough task with her fellow Ethiopian Meseret Melkamu in the field, whose best of 2:21:01 is eight seconds faster than Hamburg’s 2015 champion. This contest looks capable of putting the women’s course record of 2:24:12 under severe pressure while the quality of the men’s field also suggests their course record could be threatened. The current holder is Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge who ran 2:05:30 three years ago. Taking into account various events held in conjunction with the main race, approx. 23,000 runners have entered the 31st edition of the Haspa Marathon Hamburg.

„We are proud to welcome the athlete with the fastest time in the world this year. It is the first time in the history of our event that the world leader will run the Haspa Marathon Hamburg. However the women’s field is also strong. If weather conditions will be good then we expect some fast times on Sunday,“ said Event Director Frank Thaleiser during the press conference with the international elite runners.

Last November a referendum held in Hamburg caused a surprise when the outcome led the city to withdraw its candidacy as host for the Olympic Games 2024 but barely five months after this decision, the Olympics are again a conversation piece in Hamburg. A number of athletes from various nations intend to break their federation’s qualifying time for Rio on Sunday.

“I have trained well and hope to win on Sunday“, said Tesfaye Abera, who is in pole position for Ethiopia’s Olympic selecton after he emerged victorious from the traditionally
speedy Dubai Marathon in January. The Ethiopian federation’s philosophy usually is to nominate their three fastest runners at the end of the spring marathon season, an approach which excludes performances prior to the current year. Achievements which fall outside this time span do not count, regardless of super star status, which is how Haile Gebrselassie failed to make the grade four years ago.

However Dutch manager Jos Hermens feels that this time the approach might be a bit different so that spring marathons might be quite important. „Because of the very flat course with just a few corners in Dubai there are always very fast times. I think a very good result from Dubai alone might not be enough for a ticket to Rio. The federation will also look to the European spring marathons. If Tesfaye runs 2:05 or 2:06 in Hamburg on Sunday he will surely have a very good chance to be selected for the Olympics,“ said Hermens, who is the manager of Abera.

Tesfaye Abera was a late addition to the elite field of the Haspa Marathon Hamburg after injury forced his compatriot Shumi Dechasa to withdraw. The 2014 winner has been suffering with knee problems. But Abera’s plans always included running a spring marathon following his race in Dubai.

While Feyisa Bekele will be looking to recover his best form on Sunday – he ran his fastest time of 2:06:26 in Amsterdam in 2012 – his fellow Ethiopian Abayneh Ayele has already delivered proof of his qualities this year, finishing fourth and just outside the medals at the World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff. His time of 59:59 in the Welsh capital in March was his fastest ever for the distance. „I know that Hamburg has a fast course. So I am optimistic that I can run sub 2:06 here,“ said 28 year old Ayele.

The plan is for the leading group on Sunday to go through the halfway point in just outside 63 minutes which would leave them with some room for an attack on a world class winning time. If the Ethiopians misjudge the pace, the Kenyan Philemon Rono might be one of those to take advantage. He will be running for the third time in the Haspa Marathon Hamburg, having made his debut in 2014 and set what remains his best time of 2:07:07.
Meseret Hailu’s plan to retain the title in Hamburg has taken on a more demanding aspect with the addition of her compatriot Meselech Melkamu to the start list. Melkamu is the African record holder for 10,000m with 29:53.80 and her impressive marathon best of 2:21:01 was achieved on her debut at the distance in Frankfurt in 2012. The 30 year old has already showed excellent form this year with third place in Dubai in late January in 2:22:29. Such is the strength of competition for Ethiopia’s Olympic Marathon team, Melkamu is likely to have to improve on that level of performance in Hamburg to remain in Olympic contention.

“I have big motivation to run in Hamburg because of my hopes for Olympic selection. My goal is to go to Rio,” said Meselech Melkamu while Meseret Hailu explained that the prospect of possible Olympic selection drives her on as well: „If I run well then I can go to Rio!“

For that reason the Ethiopian women can be expected to set a fast pace from the start with a half marathon split of 71 minutes as the target. They may well have company in the form of the Kenyan Sarah Chepchirchir who will run after dropping out of her marathon debut in Nagoya last month. After disappointment in Japan, she’s making a renewed effort in Hamburg.

Favourites and personal bests:

Tesfaye Abera ETH 2:04:24
Feyisa Bekele ETH 2:06:26
Abayneh Ayele ETH 2:06:45
Hendrick Ramaala RSA 2:06:55
Philemon Rono KEN 2:07:07
Ezekiel Chebii KEN 2:07:18
Josphat Kiprono KEN 2:09:34
Yekeber Bayabel ETH 2:09:39
Benedict Moeng RSA 2:10:21
Jeff Hunt AUS 2:11:00
Moses Kipsiro UGA Debut
Nicholas Bor KEN Debut
Merhawi Kesete ERI Debut

Meselech Melkamu ETH 2:21:01
Meseret Hailu ETH 2:21:09
Madai Perez MEX 2:22:59
Beata Naigambo NAM 2:26:57
Adriana da Silva BRA 2:29:17
Monika Stefanowicz POL 2:29:28
Megertu Ifa ETH 2:32:31
Kellys Arias COL 2:32:32
Sarah Chepchirchir KEN DNF Nagoya

Plan your perfect marathon day!

By | Allgemein @en

We have put together some helpful advice so you can have the perfect marathon day on April 17 at the Haspa Marathon Hamburg.

On our new page MARATHONDAY, which you can also find in the sidebar menu, we have listed the top 10 things to keep in mind to reduce race-day stress. Also, we have planned out a schedule for all your fans and spectators to keep track of you on the course and get around Hamburg to cheer you on at many  locations. Get ready to run the blue line!

Find the MARATHONDAY page here

Shop our Marathon Special!

By | Allgemein @en

Today is your last chance to get your hands on the marathon special offer in our online shop. We have the Mizuno grey hoodie from the official merchandise cellection on sale for only 30,- € . It’s a great piece to warm you with good memories from the race in Hamburg! But hurry up, the offer expires today at midnight. To start shopping, click here.

Meet your pacemakers!

By | Allgemein @en

Which ballon will you be following at the 31st Haspa Marathon Hamburg on April 17? There will be pacemakers for each of the following finish times: 3:00, 3:15, 3:30, 3:45, 4:00, 4:15, 4:30, 4:45 and 5:00 hours. They will be wearing very distinct Mizuno Shirts and a big balloon with the corresponding finish time.

Get to know your pacemakers now in the race info section on our homepage! Find out who will be your guide through the city by clicking on the profile! Find the race infos here.

Support for the Phönikks foundation

By | Allgemein @en

Part of the marathon for 28 years: Our 120 phönikks-runners and the 60 school children will be collecting donations for the phönikks foundation, an advisory office in Hamburg for children, teenagers and young adults affected by cancer as well as their families.

Please gives us your support. For more information, click here.