Yehualaw and Kotut set new course records at the 2022 Haspa Hamburg Marathon

April 24, 2022

As predicted, the weather and the organization were conducive for setting records at the 2022 Haspa Hamburg Marathon today (24th April), and Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw and Kenya’s Cyprian Kotut took advantage of the conditions to set new course records. 

Fresh from running some incredible times for the 10K and the half marathon distances, Yehualaw just ran another amazing time of 2:17:23 in her marathon debut to win the women’s marathon race in Hamburg. This was a personal best time, a time that will put her in the sixth position behind Peres Jepchirchir in the women’s marathon All-Time Top List and a national marathon record for her country, Ethiopia.

By the first 5K split, Yehualaw was already twenty-three seconds ahead of her nearest competitor. It was clear from the start that she was running in a class of her own and was not there to compete with anyone else but to run a fast time for her marathon debut. By the 10K point, the 10K world record holder had increased her margin to forty-three seconds ahead of her competitors.

Seven women kept together in a chasing pack up to around the 15km point when two of them began to lose some ground with the group.

As Yehualaw whose personal best time for the half marathon is 1:03:51 crossed the half marathon point in 1:08:30, five women would come to cross the same point some two minutes and thirty-four seconds later. Fastest on paper, and perhaps the most experience on the start list, Priscah Jeptoo was two seconds behind the chasing group at that point.

One of the runners in the chasing pack would then slow down as four of them still remained at the 30km point. But, by 30km all of them were already following each other in a single file with the nearest to the leader being 3 minutes and 50 seconds behind.

With each individual runner pushing hard on their own behind Yehualaw, the rate at which the gap continued to increase became even faster. She would cross the finish line almost 9 minutes ahead of her next competitor.

Fikrte Wereta, who had made the move against her fellow chasers at the 30km point, got rewarded with a second-place finish in the end with a finish time of 2:26:15. Eight seconds behind her was Bone Cheluke who came in to complete the podium at 2:26:23.

The men’s race was equally amazing with four runners going under the previous course record and one of the podium finishers setting a new national record for his country.

It was a new personal best time for Cyprian Kotut as he ran 2:04:47 to win the race and break the old course record of 2:05:30 that was set by Eliud Kipchoge in 2013, by 43 seconds. Kotut’s previous personal best time was 2:07:11, a time he ran in 2016 at the Paris Marathon.

Unlike in the women’s race, a large group of men remained in a leading pack that saw twenty runners cross the half marathon point at 1:02:40, with the timer showing Kotut being in 18th place at that point. The pack was down to six at the 35km point with two Kenyans, two Ugandans, and two Ethiopians still making it an interesting race to watch building into a thrilling climax.

As they approached the 40km mark, Kotut, who had come back into the limelight again last year to win the Asics Firenze Marathon after he last won a race in 2019, and Uganda’s Stephen Kissa, who was making his marathon debut here, began to break away from the rest of the men's elite field.

The battle between the two lasted up to the finish line where Kotut edged out Kissa to win the race by a one-second margin. In one of the fastest debut times ever for the marathon, Kissa ran a personal best time and a Ugandan national record time of 2:04:48 for his second-place finish. Ethiopia’s Workineh Tadesse came third in 2:05:07 just two seconds ahead of Uganda’s Victor Kiplangat who added the number of male runners who ran under the previous course record to four.

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