Makau was expected to dominate the race with defending Frankfurt marathon champion Wilson Kipsang opting to run in New York next weekend rather than defend his crown against the world record-holder. Makau who was amazingly left out of the Kenyan team for the London Olympics was aiming to break his world record of 2:03:38 set in Berlin last year, however the very cold weather made the challenge even greater.
Makau had to contend with very cold conditions in Germany with temperatures of four degrees at the start. Makau said “My muscles contracted due to the cold conditions and I did not trust my body at all,” he said. “I could not accelerate and had to wait and listen to how my body reacted.”
On top of this, Makau was named in an unsupported article by German journalist Hajo Seppelt, which linked him to a clinic in Nairobi allegedly supplying performance enhancing substances. The article posted on Friday cast a shadow over Makau’s record attempt at Frankfurt, even before the cold weather hit.
The timing of the article is suspicious with the Athletics Illustrated editor later apologising to the Makau camp for publishing the innuendo and unsupported claims.
Makau responded to the allegations by saying “I know that I’m clean and almost each week I get tested by the IAAF doctors and if anyone should come up with such (doping) claims, then it should be the IAAF. Someone who is not a doctor, doesn’t even know where I live going out to make such claims is not a good person.”
Makau ran a conservative race, claiming "My legs weren't good today, they weren't reacting, but I found strength in the end". At the 30-kilometre mark he broke away from the lead pack with consistent 3:00/kilometres to open up a 44sec lead on Deressa Chisma of Ethiopia.
Happy with his win, Makau still hinted bigger things are possible: “I will go back home and prepare again and perhaps come back to Germany again next year to try and beat my world record”.
1. Patrick Makau, Kenya, 2:06:08
2. Deressa Chimsa Edea, Ethiopia, 2:06:52.
3. Gilbert Kirwa, Kenya, 2:07:35.
In the women’s race the pre-race predictions of Ethiopian success were correct; however Meselech Melkamu upset defending champion and course record-holder Mamtu Daska, who finshed 3rd, behind Kenyan Georgina Rono.
Melkamu’s win in her debut marathon is an impressive sign for the future of Ethiopian marathoning for women. Her time of 2:21:01 broke the previous course record (of 2:21:59), with many predicting much faster times to come for Melkamu and a host of Ethiopia’s fastest women marathoners.
1. Meselech Melkamu, Ethiopia, 2:21:01.
2. Georgina Rono, Kenya, 2:21:39.
3. Mamitu Daska, Ethiopia, 2:23:52.
Next weekend the ING New York City Marathon will host the world’s best. Hopefully the predicted hurricanes will not cause widespread damage and destruction and the people of the USA will remain safe ready for an epic race on Sunday November 3.
Banzai Blog: Read more running news and tips from Michael Hennessey