Irina Mikitenko

| 30.09.2007 | Great marathon debut in Berlin

Berlin-Marathon 2007, (c)
Irina Mikitenko celebrated a great debut at the Berlin Marathon. As runner-up behind Gete Wami (Ethiopia) the 35 year-old athlete from TV Wattenscheid ran 2:24:51 – the fastest debut of a German female runner of all times. She has established herself as the third-fastest German female athlete over the 42.195 km ever. Her German year’s best is also the fastest time by a German since 1999 (Dörre in Hamburg/2:24:35). Only Berlin runner Uta Pippig was faster (2:21:45). Another remarkable aspect about Irina Mikitenko’s  success was that she is the first German female runner who collected points for the World Marathon Majors (WMM). In the 2007-2008 series she is now on rank five. Not even a German male runner has so far gained any points.

While Gete Wami (Ethiopia) crossed the finish line as the winner in 2:23:17 Irina Mikitenko was still the biggest surprise in the women’s race. The race for second place was exciting as after the first half Helena Kiprop and the Japanese Naoko Sakamoto lay behind Gete Wami with a significant distance (both passed the mark in 72:31). Another 26 seconds later a group of three runners including Irina Mikitenko followed. The debutant ran a fantastic second half and moved up to second place. She ran the second half in 1:11:54 which was faster than the first half. This goes to show that she certainly has even more potential over the marathon distance over which she has already qualified for the Olympics.

“It was a fantastic race and I am very happy about my result. At 30 km I felt very good and I wondered when it would finally start to get difficult,” Irina Mikitenko says. “At 35 km I had the same feeling but my coach told me to wait and keep cool. At 37 km I eventually thought I had to finally start running – and then I ran.”

In regards to a remark she had made before her debut, she was asked whether one could call her a professional marathon runner now: “Yes, you can. I will continue and I am looking forward to the coming marathon races. It really is a lot of fun, especially in Berlin with its great atmosphere. The course is made for me. The training is hard as you have to train a lot and have long training sessions. After such a race, however, this is forgotten quickly.“

In hindsight, does she think she could have run faster? “I do think so but I just didn’t know before how it would be to run a marathon. Next time, however, I will listen more to my body and less to my coach. I think by now I know quite well what my body is capable of. I can run faster than 2:24 hours – at least I would think so now.”