Defending champion Annie Bersagel will be the main contender in Sunday’s METRO GROUP Marathon Duesseldorf. The American hopes to further improve her personal best she ran last year in this race with 2:28:59.

While elite fields for this edition had to be cut drastically for financial reasons there are hopes for a national winner in the men’s race. With the Rio Olympic Games already in mind André Pollmächer intends to go for a sub 2:12 time.

Adding other events at shorter distances a total of 18,000 runners have entered the METRO GROUP Marathon Duesseldorf.

There are hopes that next year the METRO GROUP Marathon Duesseldorf will return to higher standards again.

However, this year the fastest man in the elite field is former Maroccan Abdelhadi El Hachimi who competes for Belgium. Already 40 years of age he has a personal best of 2:11:30 from 2011. Last year El Hachimi clocked 2:12:45 in Berlin.

Germany’s André Pollmächer is the second fastest on the start list with a personal record of 2:13:05. A year ago he finished elventh in Duesseldorf, clocking 2:13:59 in driving rain.

Pollmächer then ran a fine marathon in the European Championships in Zurich, taking eighth position.

“My big goal is to qualify for the Rio Olmypic Games,” said 32 year-old Pollmacher, who intends to pass half way on Sunday in 65:30.

While the national qualifying time for Rio is not yet announced it is expected to be in the region of 2:12:00 to 2:12:30.

While Annie Bersagel caused some upset by taking the METRO GROUP Marathon Duesseldorf last year, it would be quite a surprise if the American would not be first to cross the line again on Sunday. Her closest rival is Brasil’s Sirlene De Sousa Pinho who has a PB of 2:35:45.

“I remember well when suddenly the pace car appeared in front of me last year – it was a big surprise for me to win the race,” Annie Bersagel said.

“I was told about the situation in Duesseldorf this year. But for me it does not really change anything, I will follow the pacemakers. I will try to run a fine time and improve my personal best,” said Annie Bersagel, who intends to run a 2:28:00 pace.

While the weather might well turn wet on Sunday again this does not bother Bersagel too much. Living in Oslo she is used to running in bad weather – and she proved this last year.

“Rain itself is not so bad. And the forecast looks better than last year. I really enjoyed this race and I am looking forward to run on this fast course again on Sunday,” said Annie Bersagel.

On Sunday she might well see the pace car during the whole race.

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