German marathon running on the up | 29.10.2012
In the women's race, Lisa Hahner enjoyed a fine debut to cross the line in eighth. She had set herself a target of 2:32 and went under that time comfortably with 2:31:28 in a race won by another debutante, Meselech Melkamu of Ethiopia, in 2:21:01.
Lisa now joins her twin sister Anna knocking on the door of 2:30 and a possible trip to the 2013 world championships: "Now we want both want to run our first marathon together at the World Championships in Moscow," said a delighted Lisa at the end of Sunday's event.
Kah had set himself a target of 2:14, inside his previous best of 2:14:25 from April's Hamburg marathon. In danger of not quite making his target, the 30-year-old sprinted for the line and just got there by three seconds: "The clock was against me," said Kah, "so I had to fight for every second." So in the space of a month, two Germans have broken the 2:14 barrier.
Kah is a convert from football who finished his first marathon last year in 2:17:58, reduced that time in Hamburg and now in his third attempt over the distance has hacked a further 28sec from his best despite knee and calf problems in the build-up to the race.
Hahner on the other hand was trying her luck for the first time at the mythical distance and came away with a respectable clocking. After passing the half-way stage in 76:01, the 22-year-old speeded up considerably to record a negative split, her second half more than half a minute faster than the first. She ran her fastest 5km split at the 35 – 40km mark in 17:39: "That was the way I reckoned I would run it," said a delighted Hahner.
The Hahner twins started running late in their teenage years and eventually met their coach, Wolfgang Heinig, husband and coach to 1988 Olympic bronze medallist, Katrin Dörre-Heinig. Heinig now has ambitious plans for the twins. He aims for them both to be sub-2:25 runners when they get to Rio in 2016.
It was in Berlin that sister Anna also finished eighth, recording a time of 2:30:37, over a minute faster than her sister; though she did it the hard way with a slower second half than the first.
Though the long-term aim is Rio, the twins still have some work to do if they are to qualify for Moscow next summer since the German athletic federation have set the qualifying time at 2:29.