Hendrik Pfeiffer and Rabea Schöneborn in Hannover’s town hall after the press conference \ Photo: Norbert Wilhelmi
The German road race series is one of the crown jewels of European running. The HAJ Hannover Marathon is one of those fine races, and it is now back for its 30th year. I have visited the Frankfurt Marathon for many years, and enjoyed its atmosphere, expo, coverage, race and the thousands of happy German and European runners who run each and every year.
HAJ HANNOVER MARATHON ON SUNDAY
Hannover returns with a focus on the German championships.
The HAJ Hannover Marathon will be back on Sunday after a two-year gap due to the Corona pandemic. Returning with its 30th edition, the race will feature the German Marathon Championships. Because of uncertainties regarding the Covid, 19 situations in the build-up, organizers decided to focus on the national championships this year and only allow a limited international elite field. While Hendrik Pfeiffer and Rabea Schöneborn are the clear favorites in the race for the national title, there might still be overall international winners. The HAJ Hannover Marathon is a World Athletics Label Road Race.
„It will be a very emotional return for all participants as well as for the organizing team,” said Race Director Stefanie Eichel. “We are really happy to come back with this race and we are well aware of our responsibility under the current conditions. Our approach is to ensure that our participants feel good and safe during our event.” Including events at other distances, the organizers of the HAJ Hannover Marathon set a limit of 18,400 participants for this year. Close to 4,000 of them will run the classic distance.
A runner of Mongolia heads the start list of the HAJ Hannover Marathon: Byambajav Tseveenravdan had a personal best of 2:09:03 from Oita (Japan) in 2020. While this remains his only sub 2:10 time, he ran in the Olympic Marathon last summer and placed 55th. With this result, Byambajav Tseveenravdan is in a similar performance range as Hendrik Pfeiffer, who was 50th in the tough Olympic race. The German has a personal best of 2:10:18 from Sevilla in 2020, making him the clear favorite in the race for the German title on Sunday. „My goal is to qualify for the European Championships in Munich and to run a personal best in Hannover. It is a nice and fast course, and I look forward to enjoying the atmosphere with spectators back along the route,” said Hendrik Pfeiffer.
While Hendrik Pfeiffer is likely to run in a group that targets a half marathon split time of 65:30 a few Kenyan athletes might go much faster on Sunday. Daniel Muteti is the second fastest runner on the start list with a personal best of 2:09:25. He clocked this time in Cape Town in 2019. However Daniel Muteti has not raced internationally in the past two years. It is a similar story with fellow-Kenyan Josphat Kiptis, who only competed once during this time. He will run his marathon debut on Sunday. While Josphat Kiptis features a promising half marathon PB of 60:21, he ran this back in 2015.
Germany’s Rabea Schöneborn is not only the big favorite in the title race, but additionally, she is the fastest woman on the start list. The runner from Berlin improved to 2:27:03 last spring in Enschede, where she missed a place on the German Olympic team by just nine seconds. It was her twin sister Deborah Schöneborn who qualified with a PB of 2:26:55 and then achieved a strong 18th place in the Olympic race. Looking at her sister’s family record, Rabea Schöneborn said: “I want to run a personal best on Sunday and rectify this.”
There is one athlete who could be able to challenge Rabea Schöneborn in Hannover: Matea Parlov Kostro. The Croatian achieved a fine 21st place in the Olympic marathon in 2021 and has a personal best of 2:28:52. Matea Parlov Kostro’s aim will be to qualify for the European Championships on Sunday.
Elite athletes with personal bests
Byambajav Tseveenravdan MGL 2:09:03
Daniel Muteti KEN 2:09:25
Hendrik Pfeiffer GER 2:10:18
Wilfred Kiptoo KEN 2:13:55
Martin Olesen DEN 2:15:33
Archie Casteel SWE 2:15:48
Marcus Schöfisch GER 2:15:59
Frank Schauer GER 2:16:30
Valdas Dopolskas LTU 2:16:35
Tobias Blum GER 2:16:57
Christian Steinhammer AUT 2:17:19
Josphat Kiptis KEN Debut
Rabea Schöneborn GER 2:27:03
Matea Parlov Kostro CRO 2:28:52
Vaida Zusinaite-Nekriosiene LTU 2:32:50
Runa Skorte Falck NOR 2:33:52
Domenika Mayer GER Debut