Mainz Half Marathon: Thrilling Finish and New Course Records

Posted by: Watch Athletics


A fast new German half marathon has emerged in Mainz, along the picturesque river Rhine. On Sunday morning, both course records were shattered at the Gutenberg Half Marathon Mainz, with the men's race culminating in a spectacular and rare dead heat. Debutant Benson Mutiso and fellow Kenyan Victor Kimutai crossed the finish line together in 61:01, and neither photos nor video could separate them. Sharing victory, Collins Kipkemboi secured third place in 61:38, making it an all-Kenyan podium.

The success of Kenyan debutants extended to the women's race as well: Josephine Naukot won in 69:26, while Brenda Jepchirchir took second place with 69:45. Both were running their first half marathon. Belgium's Hanne Verbruggen claimed third place with a personal best of 70:15, once again meeting the qualifying standard for next month's European Championships in Rome.

Shifting the event's focus to the half marathon distance proved to be an immediate success, propelling it to second place in Germany's current half marathon rankings, with only the Berlin Half Marathon producing faster times in 2023 and 2024. "We achieved our target times and proved that it's possible to run fast in Mainz. There's still room for improvement," said Race Director Jo Schindler, who also directs the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon. Including shorter distance races, the event drew around 11,000 participants.

After the 12k mark, Mutiso and Kimutai broke away, with Mutiso leading for most of the race. But just before the finish, Kimutai surged ahead. Mutiso responded, and they crossed the line side by side. "I thought I was ahead," said Mutiso, who had only run one marathon before (2:09:21 in Munich last year). "My next goal is to run a fast marathon in October, ideally in Frankfurt." Kimutai also believed he was first over the line. "We know each other well since we train together in Iten. So it's fine for us to share the victory," said Kimutai, who set a personal best in Mainz with 61:01. Collins Kipkemboi (61:38) took third, followed by fellow Kenyan Patrick Kiprop in fourth with 61:55.

In the women's race, Naukot took the lead around the 13k mark and finished comfortably ahead of Jepchirchir. "This was the best race of my career and my greatest victory," said Naukot. "My next goal is to run between 65 and 66 minutes. I'd like to return to Mainz next year and improve the course record further. I'm not thinking about the marathon yet."

Belgium's Verbruggen delivered another strong performance, improving her recent PB of 70:23 to 70:15. "I hoped to run sub-70:00, but I was on my own for large parts of the race, which made it difficult. My big goal is to break the Belgian half marathon record of 68:58," said Verbruggen, who now ranks third on Belgium's all-time list. She will compete in the European Championships' half marathon next month, followed by the Olympic marathon in August.

The top five women in Mainz all clocked personal bests in favorable weather conditions. Ethiopians Lelise Wakweya and Hadas Shimuye finished fourth and fifth in 71:17 and 72:39, respectively. "After this race, I believe there is huge potential in Mainz. We can build on this," said Elite Race Coordinator Philipp Kopp.

Latest News
©2024 WATCHATHLETICS.COM. All rights reserved.