Kenyans Bernard Muia and Catherine Cherotich take eventful races in Munich
An eventful GENERALI MUNICH MARATHON produced a Kenyan double triumph on Sunday.
In fine weather conditions Bernard Muia clocked 2:09:17. This is the second fastest winning time in the history of the race which saw its 37th edition. Catherine Cherotich took the women’s race crossing the finish line in the Munich Olympic Stadium in 2:31:34. Germany’s Sebastian Hendel was the fastest European runner in fifth place with a personal best of 2:10:14. However he missed the Olympic qualifying time of 2:08:10.
The men’s leading group passed the half way mark in 64:29, which was almost exactly the split time targeted. With less than ten kilometers to go Kenyans Bernard Muia and Benson Nzioki pushed the pace, breaking up the leading group. They covered the kilometre sections from 34 to 36k in 2:56, 2:58 and 2:53 and built a decisive lead. It was then Bernard Muia – a training partner of the World Half Marathon Championships’ bronze medallist Samwel Mailu – who left behind his compatriot in the final kilometre. The 28 year-old was first over the line with 2:09:17 after he was added to the Munich elite field only on Tuesday. He had been training for a marathon and was accepted in Munich after an other athlete had to cancel his start. Marathon debutant Benson Nzioki took second in 2:09:12 while Mica Cheserek completed the Kenyan podium with 2:09:26.
The men’s leading group was unfortunate during the race when they missed a turn shortly before the 10k mark. The group had to turn around and lost about half a minute. „It is a pity that something like this has occurred, but unfortunately it can happen in a marathon. At least I know I am stronger than in 2022 and should be able to run sub 2:10 next time,“ said Sebastian Hendel, who ran 2:10:37 in Munich a year ago in his debut and now improved by 23 seconds.
The women had a major problem in this section of the course as well, when they were misguided and took the same turn too early. They were suddenly around 600 m short and their times would have been invalid. However organisers staged a unique rescue mission for these athletes by adding two laps for the affected runners in the Olympic Stadium before the finish.
There was an all-Kenyan podium in the women’s race as well: Catherine Cherotich, who left behind Teclah Chebet just before the 30k mark, was the winner with 2:31:34. Chebet took second in 2:32:13 while Flomena Ngurasia followed in third with 2:33:17. „Of course I was very tired, but the spectators pushed me towards the finish line on these two laps in the stadium. The atmosphere was great,“ said 28 year-old Catherine Cherotich.
“I have never experienced anything like this in 23 years of organizing this race. I can not point the finger on anyone. The section of the course where they took the wrong turns contains major road works and it was all very confusing,“ said Race Director Gernot Weigl, who was still happy with the overall event: “We had thrilling races and there was a lot of excitement.“ A total of 21,647 runners from 87 nations entered the 37th edition of the GENERALI MUNICH MARATHON, including races at shorter distances. 5,210 of them were marathon runners, making the event the fourth biggest German marathon.
1 Bernard Muia KEN 2:09:17
2 Benson Nzioki KEN 2:09:21
3 Mica Cheserek KEN 2:09:26
4 Cosmas Kiplimo KEN 2:10:07
5 Sebastian Hendel GER 2:10:14
6 Amos Birgen KEN 2:11:15
7 Luke Kibet KEN 2:11:41
8 Merhawi Ghebreslasie FRA 2:17:33
1 Catherine Cherotich KEN 2:31:34
2 Teclah Chebet KEN 2:32:13
3 Flomena Ngurasia KEN 2:33:17
4 Caroline Chepkwony KEN 2:36:32
5 Beatrice Cheburet KEN 2:46:42
Photo Credits: Norbert Wilhelmi