Ethiopian Melkamu returns to defend Frankfurt Marathon

By (Follow on Twitter @ athleticsafrica)

Defending champion Meselech Melkamu will return to the scene of her triumph last year when she runs the 32nd edition of the BMW Frankfurt Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on October 27, 2013.

The Ethiopian produced the third fastest marathon debut ever by a woman when setting a course record of 2:21:01 in 2012. For good measure, she will be competing in the strongest women’s field ever assembled for Germany’s oldest city marathon.

Three more runners with personal bests inside 2:22 have been added to the field and organisers expect around 15,000 athletes to take part in the marathon.

Melkamu, 28, is the second fastest 10,000 m runner of all time and holds the African record at the distance. After a great career on the track and also in Cross Country the Ethiopian is now concentrating on the marathon.

“In the future I want to run times in the marathon that are as good as the ones I’ve achieved in the 10,000 metres,” said Meselech Melkamu, when she was in Frankfurt a year ago. Her personal best at 10,000 m stands at 29:53.80 minutes, less than 23 seconds outside the world record.

After her winning debut at the BMW Frankfurt Marathon 2012, Meselech Melkamu finished fifth in this year’s London Marathon, gaining selection for the World Championships’ marathon in August.

In sweltering conditions in Moscow Melkamu was in the leading group until the final stages of the race. Around five kilometres from the finish she suffered muscle problems and then dropped out.

“Our information is that she recovered quickly from the Moscow race. Meselech was able to train without problems on the days after she had dropped out. It was after that when she decided to run another marathon this year and come back to the BMW Frankfurt Marathon,” said Christoph Kopp, who is in charge of the elite athletes in Frankfurt.

He added: “Meselech intends to defend her title and she wants to run a fast time.”

A very fast time and possibly a course record might well be needed for victory in Frankfurt on 27th October. Besides Meselech Melkamu there are three runners in the field who have personal bests of sub 2:22.

Tirfi Tsegaye is the second fastest in the field behind Meselech Melkamu with a PB of 2:21:19. She ran that time when she was second in the Berlin Marathon 2012. This year Tsegaye took the Dubai Marathon in January with 2:23:23 and was then fifth in Boston (2:28:09).

Eunice Jepkurui (Kenya), who was second in Amsterdam in 2012 with 2:21:41, and Mamitu Daska (Ethiopia/2:21:59) complete the impressive trio who have run below 2:22. Daska clocked her personal best when she won in Frankfurt in 2011and this will be her third consecutive appearance. In 2012 she also achieved a podium finish with third place in 2:23:52.

Another world-class runner to be taken into account was an earlier addition to such a competitive women’s field: Caroline Kilel will return to the BMW Frankfurt Marathon where the Kenyan won three years ago in 2:23:25. The following year she set what remains her personal best with victory at the 2011 Boston Marathon with 2:22:36.

Information and online entry is available at: BMW Frankfurt Marathon