Paula Radcliffe Heading To The Berlin Marathon

Paula Radcliffe looks to Berlin for an Olympic qualifying time. Photo: PhotoRun.net

She’s is racing in the German capital to qualify for the 2012 Olympics.

Written by: David Monti

(c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

As the summer track season just begins to heat up, organizers of big fall marathons are beginning to announce their top athletes.  Directors of the Berlin and Frankfurt Marathons –both title-sponsored by auto maker BMW– and the Bank of America Chicago Marathon all made athlete announcements earlier this week.

Berlin race director Mark Milde revealed today that in addition to men’s marathon record holder Haile Gebrselassie, his event on 25 September will also host women’s world record holder, Paula Radcliffe.  For Radcliffe, 37, the Berlin race will be her first marathon start in nearly two years.  She last competed at the distance at the ING New York City Marathon in November, 2009, when she finished fourth.  Radcliffe had been on maternity leave after giving birth to son Raphael last September.

Radcliffe will be using the Berlin contest to qualify for the London, 2012, Olympics.  According to U.K. Athletics officials, Radcliffe must post a marathon time of 2:31 or better within the IAAF qualifying window (which opened on 1 January, 2011), to be considered for the team.  So far, only two British woman –Jo Pavey and Louise Damen– have achieved that mark, both doing so at the Virgin London Marathon last April, running personal best of 2:28:24 and 2:30:00, respectively.

In Chicago, executive race director Carey Pinkowski said on Tuesday that Moses Mosop, the incredible Kenyan who set the pending IAAF world records for 25,000 and 30,000 meters at the Prefontaine Classic earlier this month, will run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on 9 October.  Mosop, 25, the 2005 IAAF World Championships bronze medalist at 10,000m, ran the fastest-ever debut marathon at Boston last April, clocking 2:03:06 to finish second to Geoffrey Mutai.

“I was very pleased with my performance at the Boston Marathon, especially since it was my first marathon,” Mosop said through a prepared statement.  “In my second marathon, I want to run even faster.  I feel that the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is where I have the best opportunity to do that. I like the course, I feel strong in my training and I am looking forward to coming back to Chicago for this great event.”

Both the BMW Berlin Marathon and Bank of America Chicago Marathon are part of the five-part World Marathon Majors series.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday in Frankfurt, race director Jo Schindler told the media that Kenyans Wilson Kipsang and Gilbert Kirwa would run his race on 30 October. Kipsang, 29, whose full name is Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich, won Schindler’s race in 2010 and became the first athlete to complete the Frankfurt course in under two hours and five minutes.  He clocked a personal best 2:04:57 to win by a minute and a half.

“We are ready to make the next step,” Schindler said through a news release, adding that this year’s Frankfurt winner would take home 145,000 euros if he broke the world record.  Schindler’s elite athlete coordinator Christoph Kopp added that the course would be potentially faster this year: eight turns had been eliminated.

Kirwa, 25, had a 2010 season he would rather forget.  After running 2:06:59 to win the Dong-A Marathon in Seoul in March, 2010, he failed to make it to the starting line of the ING New York City Marathon because the USA Embassy in Nairobi issued his visa one day after the race.  In an attempt to salvage his season, he accepted a late invitation from the Honolulu Marathon organizers, but was only able to run 2:20:58 (4th place) in the Hawaiian capital.  Kirwa won the Frankfurt Marathon in 2009 in 2:06:14, still his personal best.

Schindler also announced that Sabrina Mockenhaupt would run his race.  The two-time German Olympian has a personal best of 2:26:21 and was the 2008 Frankfurt champion.

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