This is Stuart Weir’s piece on the European marathons!
The first athletics gold medals have been awarded at Munich 2022. The marathons took place in the city center at the same time as the opening stadium session – strange scheduling. There were the individual men’s and women’s and also a team competition based on the combined time of three athletes.
There was a home win in the men’s race. The results were:
1 Richard Ringer (Germany) 2:10.21
2 Maru Teferi (Israel) 2:10.23
3 Gashau Ayale (Israel) 2:10.29
4 Amanal Petros (Germany) 2:10.39
The first British finisher was Philip Sesemann in 2:15.17.
The winner commented: “Although this is an individual event, the great motivation was the team because we were going for a team medal. I would have never thought that this team spirit could be so strong and help so much, like at the 35K or 37K, with all the pain you feel. Every marathon is a surprise, now I am the champion of Europe. I started as a 5K runner, this is why I finished strong. The heat was not a problem for me today. Before, I used to train in St. Moritz but you do not get used to the heat there. So I started to train in a training group in the US with 28 degrees. So when I came here, I ran with long trousers. I guess this was the decisive move. The people around me, my friends, they gave me wings today. When I ran, I remembered all the nice guys in my life. And the spectators here were like the third leg to me, they helped a lot with their cheering”.
It was a poignant moment when Israel picked up two individual and a team medals, 50 years after the massacre, something which was not lost on Teferi: “It was an excellent team effort of the team Israel. We are very pleased with it especially because these championships mark the 50th anniversary of the tragic events that took place here in Munich in 1972. I would like to dedicate this medal to all the families of the victims, and to send my love to everyone. As soon, as we realised that these championships were going to take place here in Munich, we felt it in the heart, an inner strength to the best we can to honour those families”.
The women’s race saw a victory for Poland.
1 Aleksandra Lisowska (Poland) 2:28.36
2 Kostro Parlov (Croatia) 2:28.42
3 Nienke Brinkman (Netherlands) 2:28.52
Miriam Dattke was given the same time as Brinkman but awarded fourth place. In the understatement of the day, Dattke said: “Yes, it was rather close”.
Lisowka commented: “Wow. This is an incredible result. Before the race, I did not believe this could happen and still cannot believe it right now that I am the European champion, I was fully prepared for this, and I knew I was considered one of the medal favourites, especially after breaking the Polish record last year. Seeing a lot of Polish supporters along the course was amazing. From the start, I felt I was in total control of the race – in fact, the first 30 km were too slow for me so I tried to attack the pace a bit so I could go ahead. After the 30th km, I was able to run the pace I wanted and still kept the energy to attack if needed. Even in the last 100m, when I turned around and saw the Croatian athlete was coming closer, I was not worried. I knew I had it under control”.
The Women’s Team winners were Germany (7:28:48) with Spain second and Poland third. Israel took the men’s team race (6:31:48) from Germany and Spain.