Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya won Sunday’s Hamburg Marathon as the 15,000 runners in the northern German city paid tribute to the victims of the Boston Marathon bomb blasts.
The 28-year-old Kipchoge, running in his first competitive marathon, set a new course record of 2hrs 05.30mins with Ethiopia’s Limenih Getachew second 2min 5sec back, while Kenya’s Lawrence Kimaiyo was third 4min 57sec adrift.
“I am very happy, because I certainly wanted to break the record,” Kipchoge, who won a 5,000m silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, told broadcaster NDR having shaved 28 seconds off the previous record.
It was a fine run for the debut marathon runner. Kipchoge switched to road running last year after failing to make the Kenya Olympics team in the 5,000 m that would have seen him participate in his third consecutive Games. He holds a personal best of 59.35 in the half marathon set in Lille, France on September 9 on his debut run. He finished sixth in last year’s IAAF World Half Marathon Championships before making the big stop to the 42 km race.
He was a polished and consistent runner on the track with multiple World championships and Olympic medals. He won 5,000m gold at the 2003 and 2007 World Athletic Championships and 5,000m silver at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games. He is the 2003 World Cross Country Championship junior champion.
Minute silence before race
In Hamburg, thoughts of Boston were not far away and there was a minute’s silence before the Hamburg race for the three people killed and 180 injured in Monday’s attacks.
The Hamburg runners warmed up to the Boston Marathon’s signature tune “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond while many ran with green and yellow wristbands bearing the inscription “Run for Boston”. Lithuania’s Diana Lobacevske won the women’s race in 2hrs 29.17mins finishing 1min 33sec ahead of Switzerland’s Maja Neuenschwander while Kenya’s Priscilla Lorchima was third 2min 6sec behind.
There had been security concerns before the race when a suspicious package was found at an inner city underground station. Police closed down the U3 metro line, which runs under the port to the city’s town hall, but it turned out to be a false alarm.