For the first time in over 20 years, the GENERALI MUNICH MARATHON on October 9 will take place with an international elite field. The start list includes a World champion from 2015, Mare Dibaba of Ethiopia. Her compatriot Mengistu Zelalem is currently the fastest man in the field with a best of 2:08:48. The GENERALI MUNICH MARATHON, which starts in the Olympic Stadium before making its way through the inner city and finishing in the imposing setting of the Olympic arena, is an Elite Label Road Race, a distinction awarded by World Athletics, the international governing body of world athletics. The organisers expect a total of 20,000 participants for the 36th edition of this historic race with around 5,000 running the marathon.
2001 was the last time the GENERALI MUNICH MARATHON had an international field. The previous year the Kenyan Michael Kite had set what remains the men’s course record of 2:09:46. Subsequently the organisers concentrated on the German National Championships for a number of years. Susanne Hahn set the women’s course record of 2:32:11 at one of these races in 2012.
“Of course we hope that both course records will be broken when the winners cross the finish line in the Olympic Stadium on October 9,” said the Race Director Gernot Weigl. “It’s the right time to position the race more on the international scene. We’d become aware of interest abroad in the GENERALI MUNICH MARATHON and decided to join the Label Series of World Athletics for road races. For that reason alone we now have an international elite field and are hoping for fast races. With the help of top times we want to develop the marathon further and show that you can run fast in Munich.”
A few years ago Mare Dibaba was among the best women marathon runners in the world. The 32-year-old crowned her career so far in winning the world title in Beijing in 2015. A year later Dibaba took a bronze medal at the Olympics in Rio. She also won the Chicago Marathon in 2014, has been second twice in Boston, in 2014 and the following year, and has a high quality personal best of 2:19:52. Since delivering another impressive performance to finish runner-up in the Berlin Marathon in 2019 with 2:20:21, she has run just one marathon during the Covid Pandemic, finishing 14th in Boston. A diminutive but powerful runner who stands 1.52m tall, the GENERALI MUNICH MARATHON offers Mare Dibaba the chance to re-establish herself on the international scene.
Among Mare Dibaba’s rivals will be her fellow Ethiopian Aberu Mekuria who has won her last three marathons. Her personal best is 2:24:30 in winning in Chongqing in China in 2019 and she won in Osaka, Japan in the same year as well as triumphing in Riga in Latvia this spring. Another to watch should be Agnes Keino. The Kenyan has twice shown strong form in Copenhagen this year. She finished third in the marathon in May with a personal best of 2:25:08 and last Sunday also ran her fastest half marathon to finish tenth in 68:47.
Two runners in the men’s field have personal bests faster than the course record in Munich. Mengistu Zelalem ran 2:08:48 for third place at Castellon in Spain in 2020. He was again in good form this spring as the Ethiopian again finished third at the same event in 2:09:34. Edwin Kimaiyo has a best of 2:09:12 which he set in finishing fourth in Shanghai in 2017. The Kenyan was fifth in in Copenhagen in spring with 2:09:44. His compatriot Meshack Koech is looking to break 2:10 for the first time in his career in Munich but he has gone close already, having clocked 2:10:17.
More information about the GENERALI MUNICH MARATHON and online entry is available at: www.generalimuenchenmarathon.
NB: Head photo: Norbert Wilhelmi (marathon runners on the course in Munich at the Siegestor).