Anna Hahner had a brilliant run around the streets of the German capital in the Berlin Marathon on Sunday morning and she looks poised to come back and do it all again at next summer’s European Championships in Berlin.
Hahner said beforehand her goal was simply to run under the qualifying standard of 2:32:00 and the 27-year-old was nearly four minutes inside this mark, finishing fifth in 2:28:32 - the third fastest time of her career and the second fastest time by a German athlete in 2017. She was also the first European finisher home in a race won by Kenya’s Gladys Cherono in 2:20:23.
Hahner needed to take an unplanned pitstop around the 17km checkpoint but she was always comfortably inside the qualifying standard - and not too far off lifetime best pace in wet and humid conditions - through halfway in 1:14:03. Her pace barely slackened in the second half, crossing the finish-line just beyond Brandenburg Gate in 2:28:32 where she was greeted by her twin sister Lisa.
The world record went untouched in the men’s race but Italy’s Catherine Bertone, 45, finished just two seconds behind Hahner in the women’s race in sixth. Not only was her time of 2:28:34 a lifetime best for the distance, it was also a world over-45 record - breaking the previous mark of 2:29:00 held by Ukraine’s Tetyana Pozdnyakova.
In the men’s race, Great Britain’s Jonny Mellor was the first European finisher home in a lifetime best of 2:12:57, one place ahead of France’s Benjamin Malaty in 2:13:10. Germany’s Philipp Pflieger was comfortably on course for the European Championships qualifying time of 2:14:00 through halfway in 65:47 before cramps forced him to drop out before the 35km checkpoint.
Brzezinski is Berlin-bound after winning in Warsaw
There was a home victory in the Warsaw Marathon on Sunday as Blazej Brzezinski, 30, claimed victory in a lifetime best of 2:11:27 ahead of Kenyans Justus Kiprotich (2:11:52) and Silas Kipngetich (2:13:32).
“Today everything was perfect for me: the route, the fans, the rainy weather and, most importantly, my form," he said. “I achieved everything I wanted to: victory, a PB and the qualifying standard for the European Championships – what more could I ask for?"
The oldest road race in Europe took place on Sunday with the Bechovice to Prague 10km doubling up as the Czech Championships. Staged for the 121st time, four-time Olympian Eva Vrabcova won the women’s race in 34:05 with Jakub Zemanik winning the men’s race in 30:46.
In Swansea, there was a European-leading 10km mark from in-form Dewi Griffiths, who stopped the clock at 28:28 to eclipse Spain’s Javier Guerra at the top of the rankings by two seconds. Griffiths finished a close second behind Kenya’s Elijah Kiptoo in 28:20.
Double Swedish success at the Lidingoloppet
With 38,000 runners entered across the programme, the TCS Lidingoloppet is the world’s biggest cross country event. The race is also the first European Athletics Cross Country Permit event of the autumn on the road to the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Samorin, Slovakia on 10 December.
Despite being known primarily as a steeplechaser, Napoleon Solomon stepped up in distance to win the 30km in 1:38:47 to become the first domestic winner of the men’s race since Mustafa Mohamed in 2008. Solomon finished sixth in the U23 race in Chia, Italy last December but will step up into the senior ranks in Samorin.
Solomon won comfortably ahead of Ethiopia’s Minale Yetsedaw (1:39:52) and Mikael Ekvall (1:40:13) while Maria Larsson won the women’s race in 1:55:19.
Witek and Wojciechowski among the winners in Ostroda
The Polish track season drew to a close in Ostroda on Saturday, featuring some of their standout athletes. European U23 bronze medallist Marcelina Witek went out to 60.10m in the javelin while national record-holder Marcin Krukowski won the men’s javelin with 79.74m.
Former world champion Pawel Wojciechowski cleared 5.40m in the pole vault while European indoor champion Konrad Bukowiecki threw 19.31m to win the shot put.
Elsewhere, European indoor 60m hurdles bronze medallist Petr Svoboda ended his season on a high note, setting a season’s best of 13.46 in the 110m hurdles in Prostejov, Czech Republic on Sunday.