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Heißer Asphalt in der Hauptstadt: So lief der Berliner Halbmarathon
Event

Hot asphalt in the capital: This is how the Berlin half marathon went

In Berlin, pretty much everyone who has a reputation in the German running scene was at the start. Which professionals were able to shine - and which ones got burned by the high speed and the warm weather?

Photos: Nina Ludwig

Berlin was electrified on Sunday morning. This year's edition of the Berlin Half Marathon was like none before - rarely have so many of Germany's best runners gathered in the capital to test their strength. They all had one goal: to secure a place on the German team at the European Athletics Championships.

Germany can nominate up to six men and six women each. The norms are 61:40 for men and 70:30 for women. The high temperatures in the capital of up to 20 degrees posed challenges for the standard hunters. But two of them made it. Samuel Fitwi (Trier New Year's Eve Run) was the fastest German and even ran a personal best time of 61:33. He finished ninth overall. The fastest German and third overall was Melat Kejeta (Kassel running team), who achieved a German best time of the year with 67:26.

“I’m happy that I achieved at least a personal best and the European Championship standard,” said Fitwi after the race. He had actually planned to attack Amanal Petros' German record of 60:09 and be the first German ever to run under an hour. He left no doubt about this intention after the start - and ran away from all other competitors. But shortly after kilometer 10 the attack was over. “Then it got too warm and after 16 km nothing worked anymore,” says Fitwi. His German competitors finished well behind him. Aaron Bienenfeld (SSC Hanau-Rodenbach) was twelfth in 62:34 and Johannes Motschmann (Marathon Team Berlin) was 14th in 62:46.

“The Berlin Half Marathon wasn't as much fun as usual - but it still ran with the fans.”

- Johannes Motschmann

Things didn't go so smoothly for Hendrik Pfeiffer (TK Hannover), who recently set an exclamation mark with his best marathon time of 2:07:14. He finished 15th in 63:05. Simon Boch (LG Telis Finanz Regensburg) crossed the finish line in 17th place after 63:32.

Johannes Motschmann found the clearest words for the course of the race: “It was very hard today,” said the Magdeburg native, who is starting for the Marathon Team Berlin. “It wasn’t as much fun as usual, although the atmosphere was still great.” The last two kilometers were very painful, said the third fastest German of the day.

Eva Dieterich (LAV Stadtwerke Tübingen) caused a surprise in the women's field, becoming the third fastest German behind Melat Kejeta and Miriam Dattke (LG Telis Finanz Regensburg). She finished her first half marathon in 71:15. Not many of the prominent German standard hunters had probably expected Dieterich.

Esther Pfeiffer (Hannover 96), who had announced a time of under 70 minutes the day before, also had to admit defeat. She crossed the finish line after 72:32 minutes. Kristina Hendel (LG Braunschweig) finished just ahead of her in 72:31. Local hero Deborah Schöneborn (Marathon Team Berlin) reached the finish after 73:12 minutes.

But the fastest German of the day, Melat Kejeta, who ran a very fast time of 67:26, was also confronted with the humid conditions in Berlin in the second half of the race. After all, she was still on course for the European record (65:15) until kilometer 10. But the high temperatures dashed record hopes for many professionals - as well as amateurs - that day. “It was too warm for me,” said Kejeta. "I wanted to run faster, but I had to slow down during the race due to the conditions."

Although everything was on the line for the professional runners, there was no sign of great tension immediately before the start; the athletes appeared focused but calm. So the hope remains that they will quickly get over the tough race in Berlin, won't let themselves be demotivated and will soon delight the fans again with top performances. After all, in addition to the European Championships, the Olympic Games are coming up this year - and the 2024 road running season has only just begun.

The results at a glance

Women:

1. Tekle Muluat 🇪🇹 1:06:53
2. Ftaw Zeray 🇪🇹 01:07:22
3. Melat Kejeta 🇩🇪 1:07:26

Men:

1. Daniel Ebenyo 🇰🇪 59:30
2. Amos Kurgat 🇰🇪 59:42
3. Isaia Lasoi 🇰🇪 59:47

The results of the fastest Germans

Women:

1. Melat Kejeta - 1:07:26
2. Miriam Dattke - 01:11:01
3. Eva Dieterich - 1:11:15
4. Kristina Hendel - 1:12:31
5. Esther Pfeiffer - 1:12:32

Men:

1. Samuel Fitwi - 1:01:33
2. Aaron Bienenfeld - 01:02:34
3. Johannes Motschmann - 1:02:46
4. Hendrik Pfeiffer - 1:03:05
5. Simon Boch - 1:03:32

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