Kiptum versus April: A duel of two champions in Hannover

Joseph Kiptum
Joseph Kiptum in Hannover in 2012. Credit: www.photorun.net
The TUI Marathon Hannover will see a duel of two champions on 5th May: While Kenya’s defending champion Joseph Kiptum returns to the race South Africa’s Lusapho April has also been signed by the organisers. April had won in 2011.

It will be the target in the women’s race to finally improve the course record to a time well under 2:30. Kenya’s Julia Muraga looks like she has the potential to deliver such a performance. The TUI Marathon Hannover is an IAAF Bronze Label Race.

While two champions return the runner with the fastest time entered so far comes to Hannover for the first time: Wilfred Kigen clocked his personal best of 2:07:33 in Hamburg in 2007, when he was second. His biggest wins however came in Frankfurt, where he triumphed three times in a row from 2005 to 2007 and established two course records.

Additionally Wilfred Kigen, who is one of the most well-known African runners in Germany because of his fine performances in this country, had won the Hamburg Marathon in 2010. Although 38 years old now Wilfred Kigen has shown that he can run well beyond the age of 35. It was in Frankfurt in October 2011 where he clocked 2:10:17.

Defending champion Joseph Kiptum will be eager to show his full potential in Hannover this time. He had won after a thrilling finish in 2012, just edging out Ethiopia’s Megersa Bacha Chikuala who was given the same time of 2:09:56. However Joseph Kiptum had suffered of stomach pains during the race. This time his goal will be the course record of 2:08:52.

Besides Lusapho April, who had clocked 2:09:25 in Hannover in 2011 which still stands as his personal best, there are two Kenyans to watch: David Kisang will come to Hannover with a PB of 2:08:54 and Wesley Kibett Langat won the Nairobi Marathon in 2012. In high altitude he clocked 2:10:40.

The women’s course record still stands above 2:30 which by today’s standards is clearly not appropriate for a race like the TUI Marathon Hannover. Two Kenyans should be able to do much better than the current record of 2:30:17. Julia Muraga has a personal best of 2:26:00.

This performance is already five years old, but she did very well in last year’s high-class Osaka Marathon, finishing second. Meanwhile Mercy Jerotich Kibarus could be in with a surprise. So far her career best stands at 2:44:56.

However, she showed very promising form recently, clocking 68:18 minutes in the Rome Ostia Half Marathon where she finished fifth.

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