Mamitu Daska will be targeting a sub-2:20 performance when she returns to defend her BMW Frankfurt Marathon title on 28 October.
Daska, along with fellow-Ethiopian Bezunesh Bekele, are hoping to crack that still-formidable barrier for the first time in the Germany’s oldest city marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.
Daska is not only the defending champion, but also the course record holder at 2:21:59, a mark which took down Kenyan Caroline Kilel's 2:23:25 performance set in 2010. The men's course was also set last year when Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang clocked 2:03:42 and missed the World record by only four seconds.
When Daska, who turns 29 before the race next month, returns to Frankfurt she knows that she will have to run fast to succeed again. Another course record is likely when the defending champion clashes with Bekele. While Daska’s personal best is still from her performance here a year ago, Bekele has been quite a bit quicker. The 29-year-old improved to 2:20:30 in January when she was fourth in Dubai. Three years earlier Bekele won the Dubai race with 2:24:02. After a second place in Berlin in 2010 she was the best placed Ethiopian woman at the World Championships’ marathon in Daegu (South Korea) a year later where in hot weather conditions she finished fourth. After her improvement in Dubai she will now be eager to break the 2:20 mark on the fast course in Frankfurt.
While Daska and Bekele look like the favourites there are three women who could produce an upset. Georgina Rono (Kenya) knows the course from her sixth place finish in Frankfurt in 2009 (2:31:49). In 2011 she had a very good year, taking wins in Hannover (2:31:19) and then in Eindhoven with a big improvement to 2:24:33. But her best performance probably was at this year’s Boston Marathon, where she finished third in 2:33:09 after running in the leading group until the final stage of the race. Due to the very hot conditions in Boston times were much slower than usual.
The other two to be watched are Fatuma Sado (Ethiopia), who took this year’s Los Angeles Marathon with 2:25:39, and Agnes Jeruto Barsosio.The Kenyan won her debut Marathon in Duesseldorf this spring, breaking the course record. She ran 2:25:49, improving the old mark by almost a minute.
In the men's race, organizers had previously announced World record holder Patrick Makau (Kenya/2:03:38) and three others runners with personal bests under 2:05:30.