As he reflected a few hours after finishing runner-up to Ethiopia’s Tsegaye Mekonnen on his debut in the Haspa Marathon Hamburg on Sunday, Stephen Kiprotich was clearly a man who has quite a few years of top flight racing ahead of him. He had run 2:07:31 in difficult conditions, hail stones and rain sweeping in from the North Sea at times, losing by only five seconds on the run-in by a resurgent Ethiopian who had regained his winning form after two years of injury.
The Ugandan has climbed the twin marathon peaks already, winning the Olympic title in London in 2012 and the World Championship in Moscow a year later. His pre-race objective in Hamburg was to break his own national record of 2:06:33 and secure selection for another tilt at the world title in London this August. The government civil servant admitted that he wondered whether his Hamburg performance would be enough: “I don’t know, there are so many athletes and I don’t know if they will select me. They still have more athletes who are tougher than me.”
That was a surprising comment from a man who has twice proven what a winning competitor he can be in the marathon when it is racing pure and simple, no pacemakers provided and held during the peak of summer. Kiprotich provided a modest insight into the reason for his Olympic and World Championship victories: “I think it depends on the day, your preparations, all races are not the same, the distance is the same but the courses are different. For me, it was just my good day.”
Stephen Kiprotich turned 28 on the Wednesday before the Haspa Marathon Hamburg. He knows how to look after himself, praising the benefits of a sauna to ease race-weary limbs and had finished a deserved nap on Sunday afternoon before the interview. But sooner or later an elite athlete has to face the fact that they are no longer a contender. The Ugandan record holder has been giving this some thought: “Maybe when I stop in future – I am a government officer – I would do more of that and, on top of that, I would help upcoming athletes, give them tips on how to run a marathon and how to begin.”
He was the first non-Kenyan to win a men’s global marathon title for seven years when he won the Olympic gold in London in 2012. Uganda hasn’t come even close to emulating the conveyor belt of long distance talent that Kenya has been producing for the past four decades and it sounds as if Stephen Kiprotich would be fast-tracked for promotion in this management role, once his competitive days are over: “Where I work, our department supports sports and I am likely to be heading that department in future.”
In the meantime, it would be a big surprise if the Ugandan selectors failed to find a place in the World Championship team for London this summer for an athlete who relishes the big occasion.
The registration for the 33rd Haspa Marathon Hambrg on 29 April 2018 just started yet already the first 1000 start slots are sold out.
Registration for the early bird special fee is now closed and will reopen this evening. The next 5000 start slots 2018 will cost 70,-€.
Tsegaye Mekonnen and Jessica Augusto took the Haspa Marathon Hamburg. In a very close men’s finish Ethiopia’s Mekonnen just hold off the Olympic Marathon Champion from 2012, Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda. Mekonnen clocked 2:07:26 while Kiprotich ran 2:07:31 in difficult weather conditions with wind, rain and even some hail. Kenya’s Jacob Kendagor took third in 2:08:50.
Portugal’s Jessica Augusto came from behind to win the Haspa Marathon Hamburg with 2:25:30. She was in third place, then moved up to Ethiopia’s Ifa Megertu and Kenya’s debutant Viola Kibiwot at around 30 k and overtook them. Megertu finished second in 2:29:47, Kibiwot took third with 2:30:33.
Sonne, Regen, Hagel – heute war auf das Aprilwetter verlass. Aber ihr wärt ja nicht Marathonis, wenn ihr nicht trotzdem durchgezogen hättet! Wir gratulieren allen Finishern des 32. Haspa Marathons Hamburg ganz herzlich!
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Just one more night and race day is here. Let’s celebrate the 32nd edition of the Haspa Marathon Hamburg. We wish you all a good night’s sleep and fresh legs for tomorrow. Enjoy the marathon day and #RunTheBlueLine.
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Haspa Marathon Hamburg team
At the Haspa Marathon Hamburg you will find refreshment stations every 5 km located on the right hand side of the course. Refreshments will be placed in the following order: personal nutrition – tubs with water – Hamburg tap water (in cups) – bananas (starting at Km 10) – Gels by HIGH5 – Coke (starting at Km 25) – Electrolyte Drinks by HIGH5.
Starting at Km 7,5 there will be additional water stations every 5 km. You can get an overview of all the refreshment stations in our interactive course map.
London’s Olympic Marathon Champion Stephen Kiprotich is ready for a fast race at the Haspa Marathon Hamburg on Sunday. The 28 year-old from Uganda hopes for a 2:06 time in Germany’s biggest spring marathon. And he insists that his friend and training partner Eliud Kipchoge would be happy for him to break his course record. Back in 2013 Kipchoge won his debut in Hamburg, bringing the course record down to 2:05:30. While he is one of five sub 2:07 runners on the start list the favourite for the women’s race is Jessica Augusto. The Portuguese will go for Rosa Mota’s 32 year-old national record of 2:23:29 on the fast Hamburg course. Meanwhile the London Olympic Marathon Champion Tiki Gelana of Ethiopia has had to withdraw because an injury. Around 16,000 runners have entered the 32nd edition of the Haspa Marathon Hamburg. “More and more elite runners realize that we can offer them very good conditions for running a fast time. This explains why the fields are so strong,” said race organiser Frank Thaleiser.
“Eliud is a very good friend. We train together and spend time together. He was the one who recommended me to run Hamburg this spring,” said Kiprotich, who also took the World Championship marathon in 2013, one year after his Olympic triumph. “I knew before that Hamburg has a good and fast course,” added Kiprotich, who has a personal best of 2:06:33. Being the first Olympic champion ever in the elite field of the Haspa Marathon Hamburg Kiprotich will wear bib number 1. “It is an honour to wear this number. I have never had a number 1 going into a marathon. This is great,” said the Olympic Champion.
While current Olympic Champion Eliud Kipchoge is currently training for a sub two hour marathon project, one might assume that he was quite a bit ahead in the training sessions. However it was different. “I was not far behind Eliud,” said Kiprotich, who hopes to run a 2:06 time on Sunday providing the weather is suitable.
While Kiprotich will be the first Olympic champion to compete in Hamburg’s elite field Tsegaye Mekonnen is the fastest runner ever entered into the race. The youngster has a PB of 2:04:32 from winning the Dubai Marathon in January 2014. A number of injuries have hampered his performance in a couple of races since. “I had a hamstring injury before running Dubai in January. So this did not go as planned,” said Mekonnen, who clocked 2:11:54 in Dubai this year. “However the preparation for Hamburg went very well. I was able to train for three months without problems. On Sunday I would like to attack the course record.”
Another Ethiopian with a very fast personal best is Tsegaye Kebede with his time of 2:04:38. Injuries dogged him for two years but, after running 2:08:45 for ninth in Tokyo in late February, he wants to show more of his old form on Sunday in Hamburg. His goal is to qualify for the World Championships in London. Tadesse Tola is another Ethiopian who is among the favourites with a PB of 2:04:49.
Jessica Augusto is the favourite for the women’s race and her best of 2:24:25 has the fastest lifetime performance in the field by a couple of minutes. The Portuguese hopes to break a significant national record on Sunday. “I want to improve the time of Rosa Mota. I think it is possible. I have trained for this and all went well,” said Augusto. Mota clocked 2:23:29 back in 1985 when finishing third in Chicago.
However Augusto could be challenged by a debutant. Viola Kibiwot is confident that she is ready for the marathon distance. “I decided to turn to the marathon back in September 2016. First the training with the longer distances was tough, but then I got used to it. I am mentally and physically ready for the marathon,” said the 33 year-old Kenyan, who has a 31:11 PB at 10 k and was fourth in the 5,000 m final of the World Championships in Moscow 2013.
Eliud Kipchoge played a role in Kibiwot’s choice of Hamburg for her debut as well. “Eliud is a good friend. I train in the same group. We are all running together, men and women,” said Viola Kibiwot. “Eliud gave me a lot of advice for my debut.”
Elite runners for the Haspa Marathon Hamburg
Tsegaye Mekonnen ETH 2:04:32
Tsegaye Kebede ETH 2:04:38
Tadesse Tola ETH 2:04:49
Stephen Kiprotich UGA 2:06:33
Limenih Getachew ETH 2:06:49
Joel Kimurer KEN 2:07:48
Robert Chemosin KEN 2:08:05
Japhet Kosgei KEN 2:08:08
Gilbert Masai KEN 2:09:49
Joshua Kipkorir KEN 2:09:50
Stanley Koech KEN 2:10:58
Elkanah Kibet USA 2:11:31
Marius Ionescu ROM 2:13:00
Jose Moreira POR 2:13:37
Kenta Iinuma JAP 2:13:43
Xolisa Tyali RSA 2:14:26
Jessica Augusto POR 2:24:25
Adriana da Silva BRA 2:29:17
Megertu Ifa ETH 2:29:45
Mona Stockhecke GER 2:31:30
Magdalena Shauri TAN 2:34:51
Marisa Casanueva ESP 2:34:57
Paula Todoran ROM 2:36:44
Manuela Soccol BEL 2:37:09
Ourania Rembouli GRE 2:39:52
Viola Kibiwot KEN Debut
Valdilene Dos Santos BRA Debut
Get your personal memory of the Haspa Marathon Hamburg 2017. BMW offers a pendant for every runner. In addition to that BMW offers at its expo booth a service to engrave the pendant with name and bib number of each runner.