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Frankfurt Marathon Announces Elite Field

  • By Sean McKeon
  • Published Jul. 13, 2009
Robert Cheruiyot winning the 2008 Frankfort Marathon. Photo: PhotoRun.net

Source: Race News Service

Robert Cheruiyot winning the 2008 Frankfort Marathon. Photo: PhotoRun.net

Defending champion Robert Cheruiyot up against Wilfred Kigen and Günther Weidlinger will chase 23 year-old Austrian record.

This year’s Commerzbank Frankfurt Marathon will be highlighted by a duel between those two Kenyans who have shared winning the race during the last four occasions: Wilfred Kigen was the winner from 2005 to 2007 while Robert Cheruiyot took Germany’s oldest city marathon in 2008, causing a major upset to the favourites. But this year’s men’s race will also see one of the most promising European athletes in the marathon: Günther Weidlinger. The Austrian will chase the 23 year-old Austrian record.

The Commerzbank Frankfurt Marathon, which boosts a new title sponsor, will take place on 25th October. It is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race. Entry figures for the 28th edition of the event are up by almost 18 percent. If the high interest continues organisers expect a record field of between 13,000 and 14,000 runners. Online entry is available at: www.frankfurt-marathon.com

Frankfurt will see a duel between those two runners, who hold the two fastest times in the history of the race. Wilfred Kigen had taken the event in 2007. Besides becoming the first ever runner to manage a hattrick he clocked a course record of 2:07:58. But Kigen lost this record to his successor Robert K. Cheruiyot. The 21 year-old debutant surprised with 2:07:21 in 2008.

“Frankfurt is almost second home for Wilfred Kigen. So we are very happy to welcome him back again. Wilfred is our crowd favourite,” said Race Director Jo Schindler. 34 year-old Wilfred Kigen has a personal best of 2:07:33 from Hamburg in 2007. He will target his fourth win in Frankfurt and wants to reestablish his position as one of Kenya’s strongest marathon runners. Kigen had been unlucky in his recent marathons, when an Achilles tendon injury forced him to drop out of the New York Marathon in 2008 and a slight calf problem caused a below par perfomance in Düsseldorf. He finished second in May with 2:11:30.

“The duel between Kigen and Cheryuiot will be an absolute highlight of the Commerzbank Frankfurt Marathon,” said Christoph Kopp, who is in charge for the elite field of the event. Robert K. Cheruiyot, who is not related to the Boston and Chicago marathon champion with the same name, has meanwhile proved that his success in Frankfurt in 2008 was not a coincidence. Cheruiyot placed fifth in April’s high-class Boston Marathon.

Günther Weidlinger clearly has the ability to become one of Europe’s leading marathon runners. The former world-class steeplechaser from Austria ran his marathon debut at the Vienna City Marathon in April. He then clocked 2:12:39 but missed his goal. This was the Austrian record set by Gerhard Hartmann in 1986 (2:12:22). “This will kind of follow me until I have finally broken it,” said Günther Weidlinger. The 31 year-old holds almost all Austrian long distance records, both on the track as well as on the road. Weidlinger is number one at 1,500 m (3:34.69), 3,000 m steeplechase (8:10.83), 5,000 m (13:13.44), 10,000 m (27:36.46), 10 k (28:10) and half marathon (61:42). His best ever performance in the steeple chase came at the Olympics in Sydney in 2000, where he finished eighth.

Günther Weidlinger clearly hopes for a major improvement of his marathon best in Frankfurt. When he ran Vienna he was not at his best. He competed with a hidden stress fracture in his pelvis, which was then thought to be an inguinal hernia. He even had an operation after the Vienna race, but only then it was discovered that the hernia was ok. “I hope that Günther will break the Austrian record in Frankfurt and that he establishes himself as one of Europe’s leading marathon runners,” said Christoph Kopp.

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