Burka, Kirwa get ‘lucky’ bibs as Frankfurt prepares for fast races


Gelete Burka of Ethiopia and Gilbert Kirwa from Kenya will both wear the no 7 bibs for men and women races at the 32nd edition of the BMW Frankfurt Marathon on Sunday.

The start of the BMW Frankfurt Marathon / Photo credit: Photorun.net

The start of the BMW Frankfurt Marathon / Photo credit: Photorun.net

Christoph Kopp, the Elite Race Coordinator for the Frankfurt Marathon, has a habit of giving bib number 7, traditionally considered as a “lucky number”, to an athlete he expects to produce an outstanding performance – and they usually do. Burka, with an outstanding career on the track and cross country behind her is tipped to make a strong impression on her marathon debut.

“I don’t know her well enough to make a prediction, but I’ve heard she is in good form,” said Kopp, who gave the F7 bib to Meselech Melkamu a year ago. The Ethiopian duly won the race with a course record of 2:21:01 and returns to Frankfurt as defending champion. Tirfi Tsegaye (Ethiopia/2:21:19), Eunice Jepkirui (Kenya/2:21:41), Mamitu Daska (Ethiopia/2:21:59) and Caroline Kilel (Kenya/2:22:36) are the other favourites.

“The men’s race is very open, but this one is as well. It would be great if we could see a women’s course record for the fourth time in a row,” Kopp added.

According to the Race Director, Jo Schindler, the elite field is loaded with talent, showing 21 runners with personal bests of sub 2:10 and five have broken 2:05:30. The Ethiopian duo of Dino Sefir (2:04:50), Feyisa Lilesa (2:04:52) and the Kenyan trio of Vincent Kiprutu (2:05:13), Levy Matebo Omari (2:05:16) and Albert Matebor (2:05:25) are the ones who have PBs of sub 2:05:30.

“When I took over as Race Director in Frankfurt and then introduced Christoph Kopp a year later in 2003 the goal was to deliver high-class races and achieve top results,” said Schindler. “We improved in all aspects and managed to provide very good conditions for both elite and fun runners.”

Schindler also said that a sub 2:05 time would be a superb result on Sunday. “We are the second fastest marathon and we want to confirm this position in the future.”

“It would be a dream to get a sub 2:20 time for the first time in Frankfurt. And I hope that we will see two thrilling races on Sunday.”

“But I also rate Kenyans Eric Ndiema and Gilbert Kirwa highly. I saw Kirwa looking very good in training when I was in Iten recently,” adds Kopp. Ndiema has a PB of 2:06:07 while Kirwa won in Frankfurt with 2:06:14 in 2009. Kopp also thinks that Kenyans Moses Masai (2:11:00) and debutant Edwin Kipyego, who is the winner of the Den Haag Half Marathon from this year, could do very well.

Since 2003 the men’s course record has been broken on eight occasions. The current record is 2:03:42, set by Wilson Kipsang two years ago, and makes Frankfurt the second fastest marathon behind Berlin. Given good weather conditions, another fast race is highly likely.

However, Kopp is not making an attack on the course record the priority. This is currently only 19 seconds slower than Wilson Kipsang’s world record (2:03:23).

“It is our aim to get a big group of runners to the 30Km mark. If we get there with a compact leading group we will be in a very good position to achieve very fast times,” said Kopp, who is hoping for a winning time of under 2:05.

For the first time, the will be shown live by a number of international TV stations.

The following stations will broadcast the race live: Super Sport South Africa, Fox International / ESPN Star, Solar Sports Philippines, Starhub Singapore, OSNetwork, Zuku TV, The Sports Channel Israel, EBU, Slovak Sport Slovakia, Sky Mexico, Band Sports Brazil, Direct TV Latin America, Fox Sports Australia, Dolce Sport Romania, NTV Turkey, Canal+ France.

For other territories the live stream will be accessible through the website of the race: BMW-Frankfurt-Marathon.com. The race begins at 10.30 am local time (clocks go back one hour during the night before the race).

The BMW Frankfurt Marathon is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race and around 15,000 runners are expected to take part.

Elite Fields for the BMW Frankfurt Marthon


  1. Dino Sefir ETH 2:04:50
  2. Feyisa Lilesa ETH 2:04:52
  3. Vincent Kipruto KEN 2:05:13
  4. Levy Matebo Omari KEN 2:05:16
  5. Albert Matebor KEN 2:05:25
  6. Eric Ndiema KEN 2:06:07
  7. Gilbert Kirwa KEN 2:06:14
  8. Feyisa Bekele ETH 2:06:26
  9. Benjamin Maiyo KEN 2:07:09
  10. Dmytri Baranovskiy UKR 2:07:15
  11. Assefa Girma ETH 2:07:43
  12. Tadesse Abraham  SUI 2:07:45
  13. Elijah Kemboi KEN 2:07:51
  14. Gidena Mirach Gebremedhin ETH 2:08:28
  15. Dereje Raya Tadesse ETH 2:08:46
  16. Robert Kwambai KEN 2:09:14
  17. Urige Arado Buta NOR 2:09:27
  18. Jacob Chesari KEN 2:09:43
  19. Meftah Abdellatif FRA  2:09:46
  20. Lema Feiysa ETH 2:09:47
  21. Jonathan Kiptoo KEN 2:09:57
  22. Johnstone Maiyo KEN 2:10:03
  23. Günther Weidlinger AUT 2:10:47
  24. Moses Masai KEN 2:11:00
  25. Edwin Kipyego KEN Debut
  26. Richard Sigei KEN Debut
  27. Abraham Chebii KEN Debut


  1. Meselech Melkamu ETH 2:21:01
  2. Tirfi Tsegaye ETH 2:21:19
  3. Eunice Jepkirui KEN 2:21:41
  4. Mamitu Daska ETH 2:21:59
  5. Caroline Kilel KEN 2:22:36
  6. Birhane Dibaba ETH 2:23:51
  7. Flomena Chepchirchir KEN 2:24:21
  8. Hilda Kibet NED 2:24:27
  9. Yeshi Esayias ETH 2:25:31
  10. Hayley Haining GBR 2:29:18
  11. Anna Hahner GER 2:30:14
  12. Maja Neuenschwander SUI 2:30:50
  13. Lisa Hahner GER 2:31:28
  14. Agnieszka Ciolek-Mierzejewska POL 2:33:36
  15. Catherine Bertone ITA 2:34:54