Moen bridges a 30-year marathon gap

Moen bridges a 30-year marathon gap
European Athletics

Norway's Sondre Nordstad Moen won 10,000m gold at the 2011 European Athletics U23 Championships before switching over to the marathon distance.

Norwegian athletics is celebrating an amazing weekend of two national records, one of which had stood for almost 30 years.

On Sunday in Hannover, Sondre Nordstad Moen finished third in the city’s marathon in 2:10:07 to break the time of 2:10.17 which Geir Kvernmo had set on 10 May 1987 in London.

And from the roads to the track, and from Germany to the USA, there was more history made as Amalie Iuel ran 55.38 to break her 400m hurdles record in Baton Rouge.

Back in Ostrava in 2011, Moen, now 26, won gold in the 10,000m at the European Athletics U23 Championships, but his switch to the marathon – which saw him finish 19th (2:14:17) at last summer’s Olympic Games in Rio – has now taken him to an even greater level.

Behind a Kenyan one-two in Hannover of Allan Kiprono (2:09:52) and Philip Sanga (2:10:07), Moen created Norwegian athletics history and showed the mark of his ambitions by not being satisfied.

He wanted more, which sets the tone for an even greater future, and suffered during the race.

Moen said: “It was a pity because my legs were fine but whenever I tried to run faster the stomach problems stopped me. It is a pity that I could not break 2:10. However I am very happy about the Norwegian record.”

Iuel was sixth in the 400m hurdles final at the European Athletics Championships in Amsterdam last summer (56.24) where in the semi-finals she had broken the national record with 55.79, a time she has now taken down brilliantly.

And back to Hannover, there was home success in the women’s race as Germany's Fate Tola won in 2:27:48 ahead of Ukraine’s Nataliya Lehonkova (2:33:20), with national half marathon titles for Philipp Baar (64:57) and Sabrina Mockenhaupt (70:54).

Fajdek hammers his way to a record start

World and European hammer throwing champion Pavel Fajdek has made his best-ever opening to an outdoor campaign by breaking 80m on three occasions.

Fajdek will be chasing a third successive crown at the IAAF World Championships in London in August and never before has he started an outdoor season by going over 80m.

But competing at the Hurricane Collegiate  Invitational in Coral Gables, Florida, on Friday, he only had to wait until his second throw to achieve it, with a superb 81.39m for victory, and then did it twice more, with 80.92m and 80.78m, in the fifth and sixth round respectively.

It took him soaring to the top of the world rankings and he might take some dislodging. Last year, he ended as World No. 1 with a best of 82.47m, one of only four throws better than his achievements here in the USA.

It was a great competition for Europe as Slovakia’s Marcel Lomnicky, who was fifth at both the Olympic Games and European Athletics Championships last summer, began his season with 77.92m, showing he is going to be a major challenger again.

Lomnicky is partly training with Fajdek’s group under coach Jolanta Kumor and this has been some way to launch their season.

Fajdek finally added the European crown to his list of honours last summer with victory in Amsterdam in 80.93m. But the world champion from Moscow (2013) and Beijing (2015) then sensationally failed to make the final in Rio, finishing 17th in qualifying with just 72.00m.

There is little doubt he will want to make up for that in London and what a way to start.

Victory for Nunes

On Sunday in Zurich, Portugal’s Vera Nunes won the women’s race in 2:34:18 while Croatia’s Danijela Kuna won the Linz Marathon in 2:43:55 ahead of teammate Nikolina Stepan 2:43:56.

Russi was the stage for a home win for Italy’s Laura Gotti in the Maratona del Lamone in 2:49:40 and there was a superb run by Swiss junior record holder Julien Wanders, 21, who won the Trofeo Iberico 10,000m race in a personal best of 28:06.17, which is a European lead.

He won ahead of Spain’s Juan Perez, who took the national men’s title in 28:46.72, while Trihas Gebre took the women’s title and secured a world championship standard in 32:11.67.

There are 13 meetings across Europe this week, for more information go to www.european-athletics.org/calendar.