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MARATHON

German wins ultra marathon in 26 hours

There was triumph and near-triumph in the world of endurance sports on Saturday as one German athlete won a gruelling 245.3 kilometre ultra-marathon and another just missed out in an Olympic triathlon.

German wins ultra marathon in 26 hours
Photo: DPA

Stefan Stu Thoms, 46, ran for 26 hours and 28 minutes to win the Spartathlon race in Sparta, Greece, beating out Japan’s two-year younger Tetsuo Kiso who finished eight minutes behind him.

The news was not so good for German triathlete Anne Haug, who had to endure the agony of a photo finish against Sweden’s Lisa Norden, Haug’s training partner, Focus magazine reported on Saturday.

Only hours after the race and following an analysis for the final photo was it announced that Norden had just edged out Haug for first place in the World Cup Triathlon Series.

The competition took place on Saturday in Japan and involved 1.5 km of open water swimming, 40 km of bike riding followed by a 10 km run. Haug, a 29-year-old from Munich, finished in just under two hours.

As for the ultra marathon, the first woman to finish was Elizabeth Hawker, 36, of the UK in just over 27 hours. Thoms was ninth last year in 27:40 while Kiso was seventh in 27:12.

The Spartathlon, which traces the classical route of Athenian messenger Pheidippides 2,500 years ago, started at the Acropolis in Athens on Friday and ended in the southern Greek town of Sparta.

In all 310 runners from 36 countries started with many dropping out due to the hot weather conditions throughout the course.

The Spartathlon is described as the world’s toughest race, and is run over

rough tracks and muddy paths, crossing vineyards and olive groves, climbing

steep hillsides and, most challenging of all, takes the runners on the 1,200m

ascent and descent of Mount Parthenio in the dead of night.

AFP/The Local/mw

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MARATHON

Berlin marathon cancelled for 2020 over coronavirus

The organisers of the Berlin Marathon said Wednesday that they have cancelled the race for 2020 due to problems finding an alternative date due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Berlin marathon cancelled for 2020 over coronavirus
Berlin marathon runners in 2019. Photo: DPA

The race was initially postponed from April to September 27th, but organisers have now cancelled this year's event, which attracted 62,000 runners in 2019, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Due to the weather conditions alone and shortening days, it's very difficult to hold the Berlin Marathon… before the end of this year,” said race director Jürgen Jock.

“The question of whether athletes will be able to travel internationally again by then cannot be answered now.” 

Organisers added: “Your health, as well as all of our health, is our first priority.

“Therefore, taking into account the Containment Measures Ordinance due to the COVID-19 pandemic… the Berlin Marathon 2020 will not be able to take place.”

The city of Berlin has banned events with more than 5,000 participants since April.

The flat, fast course around Berlin's city centre is where Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya set the men's world marathon record of 2hr 01min 39sec in 2018.

It was the eighth time in the previous 20 years that the men's world record has fallen on the streets of Berlin.

Kipchoge ran 1:59:40 over the marathon distance in Vienna last October, but the time is not recognised as a world record as the event was not an open competition.

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