Winners of the Paris and Fukuoka marathons will clash at the HAJ Marathon Hannover on 19th April. Organisers of the event, which is an IAAF Silver Label Road Race, have announced major contenders for Germany’s Rising Spring Marathon.
Benjamin Kiptoo won the Paris Marathon and Josphat Ndambiri took the prestigious Fukuoka marathon in 2011. These Kenyans will be favourites in the men’s race while the women’s defending champion Souad Ait Salem of Algeria returns. The HAJ Marathon Hannover will see its 25th edition on the 19th of April. It boasts a very flat course.
Kiptoo owns the faster personal best with a time of 2:06:31. With his performance during the Paris marathon four years ago. He also won two more marathons with times inside of 2:08. In 2009 he was the winner in Rome in the time of 2:07:17 while a year later he triumphed in Chuncheon (South Korea) with a 2:07:54. The 36-year-old could not match those results recently, but the fast course in Hannover will provide a fine opportunity to achieve good times.
Ndambiri has only run one marathon so far and that was a couple of years ago. But he enjoyed a perfect debut when he took the Fukuoka marathon in 2011 with his 2:07:36 performance. After a long period of injuries he now hopes to come back strong in Hannover. The 30-year-old has achieved some very good track results during his career. Placing fifth in the 10,000m final of the IAAF World Track and Field Championships in 2007. He later clocked a world-class time of 26:57.36 at this distance.
However a runner who showed fine form more recently might be the one to beat: Countryman Ronald Korir entered last year’s Frankfurt Marathon as a pacemaker. After leading to the 35K point the Kenyan continued and finished sixth with 2:07:29, making it a fine debut at the distance. Jacob Cheshari is another Kenyan on Hannover’s startlist who has already run sub 2:08. He was fourth in Frankfurt with 2:07:46 in 2013.
While Falk Cierpinski, who has a PB of 2:13:30, carries national hopes in the men’s race, it is the women’s event where spectators can hope for a top finish by a German runner: Lisa Hahner, twin sister of the reigning Vienna marathon champion Anna Hahner, returns to Hannover. A year ago she was unfortunate when she had to drop out due to a foot injury. “This time I am fit, there are no problems so far. It is my aim to go under 2:30,” said Lisa Hahner during a press conference . The 25-year-old, who just returned from high altitude training in Ethiopia, together with her sister, has a personal best of 2:30:17 from Frankfurt 2013.
A year ago 2:33:09 was enough for Souad Ait Salem to win the race. It is very likely that she has to run quite a bit faster to successfully defend her title on the 19th of April. Of course Salem has proved that she can do so in the past. The 36-year-old Algerian marathon record holder has a personal best of 2:25:08. Ukraine’s Olha Kotovska, who took the Rennes Marathon last year with her 2:28:47, and Ethiopia’s Shuko Genemo, who has a PB of 2:31:09, are contenders for victory as well.