The 2017 World Cross Country Champion Irine Cheptai of Kenya will run her marathon debut in Hamburg. Meanwhile, Katharina Steinruck and Natasha Wodak will chase records and standards.

Irine Cheptai

Irine Cheptai, Kenya’s World Cross Country Champion from 2017, will run her debut marathon in Hamburg on April 28. This was announced by the organizers of the Haspa Marathon Hamburg. During a press conference, they also introduced Germany’s Katharina Steinruck.

Cheptai has been very successful on the track as well before she focussed more on road running. In 2021 she was sixth in the Olympic 10,000 metre final in Tokyo. And a year later, the Kenyan won the 10,000m silver medal in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Then she showed very promising half marathon ability, culminating in a 64:53 PB in Valencia where she finished second. With this time Cheptai was the fourth fastest half marathoner in the world in 2023. 

Hamburg has seen great debut marathons in the past. In 2013 it was Eliud Kipchoge who won with a course record of 2:05:30. Two years ago Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw ran an unofficial world debut record of 2:17:23. This time stands as Hamburg’s course record. There are two more debutants on the women’s start list who could do very well: Kenya’s Nelly Jepchumba has a half marathon PB of 67:00 while Roselida Jepketer of Bahrain has run 68:40 for the half. 

Moseti, Steinruck and Wodak

While Steinruck will chase a special family record on the fast Hamburg course it is Winfridah Moseti who heads the current women’s start list. The Kenyan has a personal best of 2:20:55.

Moseti ran a huge personal best of 2:20:55 when she was runner-up in last year’s Frankfurt Marathon. The Kenyan will want to build on this performance. Frankfurt’s third-place finisher will be among her rivals in Hamburg: Sharon Chelimo improved to 2:22:07 last October. Ethiopia’s Kidusan Alema and Canada’s record holder Natasha Wodak, (2:22:28 and 2:23:12 respectively), will also run their spring marathon in Hamburg.

Wodak has this final opportunity to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

Katharina Steinruck with Hamburg’s chief organiser Frank Thaleiser during the press conference in Hamburg. Credit: Haspa Marathon Hamburg

Katharina Steinruck will be very much in the national focus when she hopes to break her mother’s family record. It was 25 years ago Katrin Dörre-Heinig, the bronze medallist of the 1988 Olympic marathon in Seoul, won Hamburg in 2:24:35. For many years this was the German marathon record. “It is my aim to break my Mum’s record and it would be great if I could do it in Hamburg,“ said 34-year-old Katharina Steinruck, who is coached by her mother and improved to 2:24:56 in Osaka at the end of January. “Katha“ Steinruck returns to the race for the first time since 10 years and has good memories. In 2013 and in 2014 she clocked personal bests of 2:34:20 and 2:33:56 in Hamburg as a young athlete. Ten years later running around ten minutes faster will be the goal. And there could not be a more fitting race than the Haspa Marathon Hamburg to break the family record. 

Over 14,000 runners are expected to compete in Germany’s biggest spring marathon. Online registration for the race is still possible at: www.haspa-marathon-hamburg.de

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