Maxwell set to run her best Berlin Marathon

2010-09-25 00:00

TANITH Maxwell will be looking to improve her personal best when she lines up with 40 000 runners and 8 000 in-line racers for the 37th Berlin Marathon tomorrow morning.

Maxwell set her personal best of 2 hours 34 minutes 24 seconds by finishing 15th in her London Marathon debut in April. The Kloof-based lightweight is intent on getting closer to the magical 2hr 30min barrier, which would mark a significant difference to her commercial value and stakes for a place on the 2012 Olympic preparation squad.

Running in the colours of KZN, Maxwell ran a personal best 1:13:22 in the SA Half-marathon Championships in July and has since improved her 10 km time. The indication is that she would be able to run around 2:31 tomorrow if the conditions are good.

A contributing factor to fast times is the strength in depth of the field. Over 7 000 women will line up for gun with over 50 expected to beat the three-hour mark at the finish. Although pacing is not allowed, the fact that over 1 100 male runners will achieve a similar performance means Maxwell will not find herself left in the open as she heads back to the infamous Brandenburg Gate finish.

This is a major difference with South African racing where she is one of less than a handful of runners who will crack three hours in a race.

“The World Champs in Korea will be considerably warmer and slower. Berlin training has been through the Durban winter so this provides a great opportunity for a fast time before the London Olympics,” said Maxwell, who in theory would make top 10 if she could cut her best by two minutes.

German runner Sabrina Mockenhaupt is the local hope for tomorrow with Ethiopian Bezunesh Bekele fastest in the field with a best of 2:23:09. Countrywomen Aberu Kebede (2:24:26) and Genet Getaneh (2:26:27) will in all probability create their own bus over the first 25 km where Japan’s Tomo Morimoto will be expected to be a passenger before the real challenge for the lead unfolds.

With Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie focused on New York, the men’s race is wide open. He has won the last four editions.

The current record of 2:03:59 was set in 2008, with rain preventing a US$1 million pay- day.

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