Kenya’s Gilbert Kirwa is up against compatriot Jacob Cheshari at the 28th edition of the HAJ Hannover Marathon that will be held on Sunday (8) in Hannover, Germany.
Kirwa comes to this race with a personal best of 2:06.14 that he got in German speaking territory nine years since celebrating his two biggest career wins in Vienna and Frankfurt. In 2009, Kirwa first he took the Vienna City Marathon in spring with 2:08.21 and then clocked a strong personal best of 2:06.14 while winning in Frankfurt in the autumn.
On the very flat course in Hannover, which was improved for this year’s race by taking out several corners, the former Vienna and Frankfurt Marathon champion hopes to get back to his best. The 32-year-old Kenyan, who has run sub 2:08 times on five occasions, had two difficult years because of injuries.
Cheshari is former Hannover winner and one of the most consistent European Marathon runners in recent years. Cheshari took the Hannover crown three years ago and has a personal best of 2:07.46 which he ran in Frankfurt in 2013 while placing fourth.
The two Kenyans will be targeting to lower the course record of 2:08.32 that was set in 2013 by the race history maker Lusapho April who hails from South Africa.
Poland’s Henryk Szost with a personal best of 2:07.39 will be the other athlete to watch. He posted good performance in the Frankfurt Marathon last October, where he finished seventh with 2:10.09, just missing a sub 2:10 time in very windy conditions.
Former Ethiopian Fate Tola, who became a German citizen two years ago and since January has been competing for local club Hannover Athletics, will be the favourite in the women’s race, the 30 year-old, who lives in Germany with her family, took won the last year edition in 2:27.48.