Former World Cross Country Champion Irine Cheptai Set for Marathon Debut in Hamburg

Posted by: Watch Athletics

Irine Cheptai, Kenya’s World Cross Country Champion from 2017, will run her debut marathon in Hamburg on 28th April. This was announced by the organisers of the Haspa Marathon Hamburg, who released some of the top women’s contenders and presented Germany’s Katharina Steinruck during a press conference. While Steinruck will chase a special family record on the fast Hamburg course it is Winfridah Moseti who heads the current women’s start list. The Kenyan has a personal best of 2:20:55. 14,000 runners are expected to compete in Germany’s biggest spring marathon on 28th April. Online registration for the race is still possible at:

Irine Cheptai has been very successful on the track as well before she focussed more on road running. In 2021 she was sixth in the Olympic 10,000 m final in Tokyo and a year later the Kenyan won the 10,000 m silver medal in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Then she showed very promising half marathon races, culminating in a 64:53 PB in Valencia where she was second. With this time Cheptai was the fourth fastest half marathoner in the world in 2023.

Hamburg has seen great debut marathons in the past. In 2013 it was Eliud Kipchoge who won with a course record of 2:05:30. Two years ago Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw ran an unofficial world debut record of 2:17:23 which still stands as Hamburg’s course record. There are two more debutants on the women’s start list who could do very well on 28th April: Kenya’s Nelly Jepchumba has a half marathon PB of 67:00 while Roselida Jepketer of Bahrain has run 68:40 for the half.

Winfridah Moseti ran a huge personal best of 2:20:55 when she was runner-up in last year’s Frankfurt Marathon. While the Kenyan will want to build on this performance Frankfurt’s third place finisher will be among her rivals in Hamburg: Sharon Chelimo improved to 2:22:07 last October. Ethiopia’s Kidusan Alema and Canada’s record holder Natasha Wodak, who have personal records of 2:22:28 and 2:23:12 respectively, will also run their spring marathon in Hamburg.

Katharina Steinruck will be very much in the national focus when she hopes to break her mother’s family record. It was exactly 25 years ago when Katrin Dörre-Heinig, the bronze medallist of the 1988 Olympic marathon in Seoul, won the Hamburg Marathon with 2:24:35. For many years this was the German marathon record. “It is my aim to break my Mum’s record and it would be great if I could do it in Hamburg,“ said 34 year-old Katharina Steinruck, who is coached by her mother and improved to 2:24:56 in Osaka at the end of January. “Katha“ Steinruck returns to the race for the first time since 10 years and has good memories. In 2013 and in 2014 she clocked personal bests of 2:34:20 and 2:33:56 in Hamburg as a young athlete. Ten years later running around ten minutes faster will be the goal. And there could not be a more fitting race than the Haspa Marathon Hamburg to break the family record.

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