BMW Frankfurt Marathon focus: Lilesa wants course record, by Alfons Juck, with

Feyisa Lelisa, photo by

Feyisa Lelisa means business. What lurks behind the smile is a man who has run 2:04.52 in Chicago in 2012. A sub 60 minute half marathoner, Lelisa has won the Aramco Houston Half Marathon. 

When I asked him what he wanted to do, he said, not bragging, not with a big ego, " I want to run the course record, and I want to win the race." 

Lelisa is my pick for this weekend to really tangle with Vincent Kipruto. It should be a fantastic battle. 


FRANKFURT (GER): Kenyans have dominated the autumn marathon season so far, clocking the six fastest times in this period and taking the major races in Berlin and Chicago as well as in Amsterdam. For good measure, all three women's winners in these marathons were from Kenya as well. 

But on Sunday the Ethiopians hope to hit back in the BMW Frankfurt Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Race. The second fastest marathon course in the world, where Wilson Kipsang (Kenya) clocked a course record of 2:03:42 in 2011, offers the chance to claim significant victories. With Dino Sefir (2:04:50) and Feyisa Lilesa (2:04:52) the two fastest runners in the field are Ethiopians. However Kenyans will of course also challenge for victory. 

And they intend to extend an impressive win streak that started back in 2002 and produced eight course records. Kenyans Vincent Kiprutu (2:05:13), Levy Matebo Omari (2:05:16), Albert Matebor (2:05:25), Eric Ndiema (2:06:07) and Gilbert Kirwa (2:06:14) are likely to be the toughest opponents for the Ethiopians. 

It is unprecendented for German speaking territory that five runners with PBs of sub 2:05:30 will be lining up for a marathon. Lilesa will have plenty on his mind for Sunday, four target times, to be precise: The world record (2:03:23), the course record (2:03:42), the Ethiopian record by Haile Gebrselassie (2:03:59) and his personal best (2:04:52). "If the pacemakers do their job well, I want to go for a 2:03. Haile's record is always in my mind. But I want to run a personal best, at least." 

There was a set-back for the women's race because Meselech Melkamu was forced to withdraw due to an injury. 

The defending champion and course record holder from Ethiopia (2:21:01) pulled a muscle in one of her final sessions before she was due to fly to Frankfurt. 

However with three women remaining with PBs of sub 2:22this is still a very competitive field. Tirfi Tsegaye Beyene (Ethiopia/2:21:19), Eunice Jepkirui Kirwa (Kenya/2:21:41), Mamitu Daska (Ethiopia/2:21:59) and Caroline Kilel (Kenya/2:22:36) are the fastest in the field. This is an achievement in itself since for the first time three sub 2:22 women will be on the start line for a German marathon - and that includes the World Championships in Berlin 2009.

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