Griffiths and Gabius go under 2:10 at the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon

2017 Mainova Frankfurt Marathon

2017 Mainova Frankfurt Marathon

Great Britain’s Dewi Griffiths and Germany’s Arne Gabius became the second and third European runners under 2:10 for the marathon this year when the pair clocked 2:09:49 and 2:09:59 respectively at the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon on Sunday.

On a blustery day which certainly slightly depressed the leading times, Griffiths and Gabius finished in fifth and sixth place in a race won by Ethiopia's Shura Kitata Tola in 2:05:50.

Griffiths, 26, made his debut over the classic distance and ran the fastest time by a Briton since 2014.

A good performance was widely anticipated from the man who just missed out on a European U20 10,000 medal when finishing fourth over 25 laps of the track back in 2009 after he had clocked a half marathon best of 1:01:33 earlier this month and his road exploits come after personal bests over 3000m, 5000m and 10,000m on the track this year.

He passed halfway in a small second group with Gabius in 1:03:48 before forging ahead on his own.

At 35km, passed by Griffiths in 1:46:33, he was barely two minutes down on the leaders and a time below 2:09 looked possible but the conditions took their toll on his finishing time over the final five kilometres.

Just before his big day on Sunday, Gabius became a father with Frederik Bosse Gabius being born on Thursday but the 36-year-old 2010 European 5000m silver medallist managed to control his excitement and focus on the race in hand.

Arne Gabius at the 2017 Mainova Frankfurt Marathon
Arne Gabius at the 2017 Mainova Frankfurt Marathon

For the first half of the race, running alongside Griffiths, it looked like he might have a chance of breaking his own German record of 2:08:33 set on the same course two years ago but from 30km the group of runners he was with broke up and Gabius ran the final 15km on his own.

 “I haven’t finished a marathon since that race when I set the record (he failed to finish in London last year and Hannover this April) because of my recent injury problems so I also had a [secondary] target of running under 2:10 here again, which I achieved.

"But the wind at the end was a problem, my legs started to tighten in the second half of the race. What more could I do?” he told local media while holding up a baby suit to celebrate his family’s new arrival.

Gabius said that next summer he would drop down distance for the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships and try to challenge for the 10,000m gold on home soil.

Following Gabius home, ten seconds in arrears, Poland’s Henryk Szost made it three Europeans in top ten when he crossed the line in seventh place in 2:10:09.

Katharina Heinig at the 2017 Mainova Frankfurt Marathon
Katharina Heinig at the 2017 Mainova Frankfurt Marathon

In a race won by Kenya’s multiple track champion Vivien Cheruiyot in 2:23:35 the leading European was local German favourite Katharina Heinig, who runs for the Eintracht Frankfurt club, who came home in eighth place in 2:29.29 with her fellow German Fate Tola ninth in 2:30:12.

More than 24,000 runners finished the 5-star certified Running For All race which, as has become traditional in recent years, finished indoors in the Frankfurt Messe to the accompaniment of fireworks, spotlights and streamers.