The conditions for the nearly 15,000 marathon starters were quite good. A bit overcast, and temps in the 50s, plus a bit of wind. The elite races were quite differernt. The men’s race was a war of attrition, and the women’s race saw complete domination. In the end, we had two new winners, and two exciting stories!
The men’s elite race was a real war of attrition. The pack of 12 elites and 3 pacemakers began, hitting a good, not crazy pace. The 5k was hit in 15:01 and 10k in 30:02. The lead pack was the pacemakers plus Martin Kosgei, always a top contender, Asefa Mekkonen, Dawit Wolde, Mark Keptoo, Berrnard Kipyego, Ayalew Yimer, with Fikre Tefara in 15th place.
At 10k, hit in 30:02, the pace makers were doing their job, as 15 elites followed, in close succession, with 12 under 30:06. Homiyu Tesfaye, in his debut, and with a 1,500m PB of 3:31.98, hit the 5k in 15:12, and 10k in 30:33, in 18th.
At 15k, the pack hit the mark in 44:55, with Tesfaye in 45:30.
The pacemakers took the pack through 20k in 60:08, and the halfway in 1:03.29, just a minute off the planned halfway pace of 62:30. At this point, Mark Kiptoo, the World Masters’ record, hit the half in 1:03:30, in 11th place. Note that elite athlete coordinator had asked if Mark wanted to go out in a more conservative time of 1:04:00.
The first time that Mark Kiptoo showed his intentions was at 25k, which he hit in 1:15:00. A pack of eight was there, including Fikre Tefera, Bethwel Rutto, Martin Kosgey, and some attentive hangers on.
The distance between 25k and 30k is always difficult, and now the lead pack dwindled to 8. The time at 30k was 1:30.08, and was lead by Martin Kosgey. Mark Kiptoo, plus Ethiopians Dawit Wolde Arega, Fikre Tefere, with Ayalew Yimer.
There is a time in the marathon, where one has to engage or fade.
In this event, the time of reckoning began 30-35k, as Fikre Tefea began to test the six still with him. Mark Kiptoo, Martin Kosgey, Dawit Arega were all at 1:45.19.
Homiyu Tesfaye, who had passed the halfway in 1:04.23, was hitting the tough miles, and hit 35k in 1:48.31. Four seconds behind Tesfaye was 2014 European Champ Daniel Meucci. Meucci who had been 67 seconds behind Tesfaya at the halfway point, was moving quite well.
The five kilometers between 35k and 40k were devestating for Mark Kiptoo. Mark dropped back 30 seconds as Dawit Arega, Ayalew Yimer, Martin Kosgey and Fikre Tefera battled on, checking each other for weaknesses.
The 40k was hit in 2:00:26 for the top four men.
Fikre Tefera started to feel something, as he pushed his way to the front, with Dawit Arega, who had been leading, held second, as Ayalew Yimer held on for third place, hoping to spot a weak spot.
Martin Kosgey, who has been between 2nd and 4th over the last 4 years, dropped back to 4th and finished in 2:07.20.
The victory goes to those who grab it, and Fikre Tefera of Ethiopia did just that. Just before the last kilometer, Tefera began moving away from Arega, keeping the distance at two seconds, as Fikre Tefera took the 38th Mainova Frankfurt Marathon in a fine 2:07:08. Second was 2:07:10 and third (Yimer), was 2:07.12. In fourth, Martin Kosgey was timed in 2:07.20 and in fifth, oh so close to his WR Masters time, was Mark Kiptoo, in 2:08:09.
Eighth place was 2014 European Marathon Champ Daniel Meucci, of Italy, who negative splitted, with 1:05:30/1:05.22 to finish in 2:10:52.
The rain held off until about one hours, fifty minutes, into the race, cooling the runners down with a slight mist.
Of his win, Fikre Tefera said, ” This was a good race for me.”
2019 Mainova Frankfurt Marathon, Men, Top 10, Final, 1. Fikre Bekele Tefera, ETH, 2:07.08, 2. Dawit Arega, ETH, 2:07.10, 3. Ayalew Yimer, ETH, 2:07.12, 4. Martin Kosgey, KENY, 2:07.20, 5. Mark Kiptoo, KEN, 2:08.09, 6. Maru Tefari, ETH, 2:08:09, 7. Kenneth Keter, KEN, 2:09:29, 8. Daniel Meucci, Italy, 2:10.52, 9. Bernard Kipyego, KEN, 2:11:38, 10. Derek Hawkins, GBR, 2:12.28.