Freezing Frankfurt marathon foils record bid

Freezing conditions spoiled world record-holder Patrick Makau's bid to break his own marathon record in Frankfurt on Sunday. But after a superhuman show of strength the Kenyan athlete did win the race.

Freezing Frankfurt marathon foils record bid
Photo: DPA

The 27-year-old Kenyan, who set the world record of 2hrs 3.38 seconds at the 2011 Berlin marathon, had a painful fight to the front in the lead group and only emerged in the lead in the 26-mile-race’s closing stages, finishing with an official time of 2hrs 6.08 minutes.

A cold front over Germany meant the race was run with the thermometer reading between two and five degrees Celsius, making conditions very difficult for the record number of 16,034 runners taking part.

With 450,000 people lining the route, Germany’s oldest city marathon broke a record for the number of on-lookers.

Makau’s victory was made all the more remarkable by the fact he was suffering from injuries to his thighs and knees and could be seen clutching his thigh early on in the race.

“That was my hardest marathon so far,” said Makau. “I had muscular problems because of the cold and for a long time I couldn’t speed up because my legs weren’t reacting. It was really hard for me to come back.”

“My focus was: just don’t give up,” said the world record holder, who had to drop out of the London marathon earlier this year and was overlooked for a nomination to the Olympic Games.

The Kenyan athlete will receive €30,000 for his achievement and the respect of runners worldwide who will surely forgive Makau’s failure to break his own record in light of the unfavorable conditions.

“The priority was the win. After all, you can’t run a world record in every race,” he said.

Ethiopia’s Deressa Chimsa came in second place, clocking 2hrs 6.52 mins, with Kenya’s Gilbert Kirwa third with 2hrs 7.35 mins.

The women’s race was won by Ethiopia’s Meselech Melkamu who set a course record on her marathon debut in a time of of 2hrs 21.01.

She finished ahead of second-placed Kenyan Georgina Rono in 2hrs 21.39 with defending champion Mamitu Daska of Ethiopia third in 2hrs 23.52.


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Emergency numbers fail in several German states

Callers to the emergency numbers 110 and 112 weren’t able to reach operators Thursday morning in several German states.

The 112 emergency number on an ambulance.
The 112 emergency number on an ambulance. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

The emergency number 110 for police and 112 for fire crews failed around the country early Thursday morning, with callers unable to reach emergency operators for urgent assistance between about 4:30 am and 5:40 am local time.

The Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid is looking into these outages, which were reported in states including Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, and  Brandenburg, and in major cities like Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Frankfurt. Cologne was further affected by cuts to electricity, drinking water, and regular telephone services. Lower Saxony also saw disruptions to the internal phone networks of police and hospitals.

Emergency services are not reporting any more disturbances and people should be able to once again reach 110 and 112 around the country as normal.

Investigators are looking into the problem, but haven’t yet established a cause or any consequences that may have happened due to the outage. Provider Deutsche Telekom says they have ruled out the possibility of an attack by hackers.