Athletics Illustrated with files from Frankfurt Marathon

The 30th running of the BMW Frankfurt Marathon offers a world-class field of elite athletes looking to challenge course records and take home a piece of the 116,500 Euros in prize money (not including time bonuses) that is earmarked for the 2013 event. The marathon is happening this Dino SefirSunday, October 27th in the streets of Germany’s financial capital.

Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang owns the current course record, having run 2:04:57 in 2011, while the women’s course record is held by fellow Kenyan Caroline Kilel; she finished in a time of 2:23:25 in 2010. Neither will toe-the-line this year.

The top contenders are 25-year-old Ethiopian Dino Sefir who owns a stellar personal best time of 2:04:50, which he ran nearly two years ago at the 2012 Dubai Marathon. He has also run the half-marathon in 59:42. Countryman, 23-year-old Feyisa Lilesa will provide the biggest challenge as his personal best is essentially equal in 2:04:52.

Several more East Africans will challenge the two favourites in 26-year-old Vincent Kiprutu (2:05:13), Levy Matebo Omari (2:05:16) and Albert Matebor who are all Kenyan (2:05:25), including Eric Ndiema (2:06:07), he is also regarded as one of the big favourites, but Moses Masai who owns a 2:11:00 personal best has the best 10 kilometre time of 27:19 and could produce a surprise.

“Despite the World Championships this summer we were able to put together a very good field,” said Race Director Jo Schindler. The extraordinary quality of the fields arouses strong expectations. A fast race is likely if weather conditions are better than last year, when temperatures were just above freezing in the morning. It will still be a tough task to break the course record, which stands at 2:03:42.

TestefeThe women’s field includes Ethiopian Tirfi Tsegaye who returns to Germany a year after her second place in the Berlin Marathon. Her personal best is 2:21:19. She won the Dubai Marathon and placed fifth in Boston. There is a promising competitor from Ethiopia’s Gelete Burka, who will be running her first marathon. The 27-year-old has won major medals in the 1,500 metre and cross-country and owns a 5000 metre personal best of 14:31.20. She’s also demonstrated her all round talent on the roads in the past two years, running a world class 30:53 at 10k in Madrid’s New Year’s Eve race in 2012. Burka has not run further than 15 k in competition but this might not turn out to be a disadvantage since the same applied to another Ethiopian, Meselech Melkamu, 12 months ago. The Ethiopian made a great debut, winning the BMW Frankfurt Marathon 2012 with a course record of 2:21:01. Melkamu will return to Frankfurt and has no need to be reminded of Burka’s achievements. This potent mix could set up an attack on the course record and possible sub 2:20 performances for the leading women in Frankfurt.

The weather forecast for Sunday is for mild temperatures and light rain showers. The temperature during the 2012 event was near freezing during the race start.

Since 2003 the men’s course record has been broken on eight occasions. Frankfurt is the second fastest marathon behind Berlin. Given good weather conditions, another fast race is highly likely.

“It is our aim to get a big group of runners to the 30 k mark. If we get there with a compact leading group we will be in a very good position to achieve very fast times,” said Christoph Kopp, who is hoping for a winning time of under 2:05.

The live stream will be accessible through the website of the race: The race begins at 10.30 am local time (clocks go back one hour during the night before the race).