Irina Mikitenko

| 16.12.2008 | „For a long time I have not seen such a strong field as in next year’s Flora London Marathon”

Irina Mikitenko with the WMM trophy in New York.
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„For a long time I have not seen such a strong field as in the next Flora London Marathon,” said Irina Mikitenko after checking the women’s start list for the race on 26th April. Organisers of the Flora London Marathon had announced their elite field recently. So far nine women have been signed with personal bests sub 2:22. Among them are world record holder Paula Radcliffe (Great Britain), Olympic Champion Constantina Dita (Romania) and World Champion Catherine Ndereba (Kenya). And of course Irina Mikitenko will be back to defend her title. In the meantime she got good news concerning two more national records that were ratified.

In the real,- Berlin Marathon, which she won with a German best of 2:19:19, she broke two more national marks at 25 k and 30 k. On 28th September she passed 25 k in 1:23:07 and 30 k in 1:39:34. Knowing about the possibility of records Berlin’s Race Director Mark Milde had placed a full set of timekeepers at these points. That way the split times were hand-timed as well and it was possible to ratify them. Additionally the 25 and 30 k points of the course fulfil the requirements regarding the international rules for records. While it is the first time the German federation lists a 30 k national best Kathrin Weßel (Ullrich) had been the record holder for the 25 k. In 1992 she won the Berlin 25 k race with 1:24:41.

„Already at this stage I am really looking forward to my next marathon, which I will run in London,” Irina Mikitenko said. “With such a strong field you can not predict anything. It will be really interesting to see how this race will develop. I will prepare as good as possible and hope that I don’t get any setbacks with injuries. Then we will see what will be possible.“ Irina Mikitenko, who has won the World Marathon Majors (WMM) Series 2007-2008 and leads the next series as well, has started training at the beginning of November. She will compete at the Trier New Year’s Eve Race in Germany on 31st December (5 k). A first training camp is then scheduled for two weeks in Spain (Andalusia) in January.


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| 03.11.2008 | WMM triumph: „It was a strange feeling to watch the race in New York“

Irina Mikitenko with the WMM trophy in New York.
Irina Mikitenko with the WMM trophy in New York.
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Irina Mikitenko won the second series of the World Marathon Majors (WMM) 2007-2008. By doing so she achieved something unique since she collected enough points for this triumph in her first three marathons of her career. Together with Kenyan winner Martin Lel she now shares the jackpot of one million US-Dollar – the highest prize money in marathon running. At the last race of the series in New York none of her rivals was able to collect enough points to overtake Irina Mikitenko. After winning Berlin five weeks earlier Mikitenko did resist the temptation of running in New York, trying to earn more points. Instead she travelled to the city, taking the whole family (her husband Alexander, her son Alex and her daughter Vanessa) and still became the WMM champion.

„It was the right decision not to run in New York. Despite this I have still won the WMM series, which of course makes me even more happy,” said Irina Mikitenko. But she admitted: “It was a strange feeling to have watched the race in New York. But I said to myself that I would not be able to change anything anyway. When I was standing in the finish area I was very nervous and at that time I would indeed have prefered to run.”

Since Irina Mikitenko was tied with Gete Wami in the points’ table and there was a tie in the head-to-heads as well (1:1) the five Race Directors had to vote to decide the WMM series. They unanimously decided in favour of Irina Mikitenko. The major criterium was that she ran only three races to get 65 points while Gete Wami needed four. Additionally Mikitenko’s average time was faster.

Irina Mikitenko has another great chance in the next WMM series 2008-2009, which she leads with 50 points. Two second places in 2009 might well be enough to take that one as well. “I have returned to full training and I am optimistic regarding next year,” said Irina Mikitenko.

Final standings, WMM Series 2007-2008

Women

1. Irina Mikitenko (GER) 65 Points
2nd 2007 Berlin 15
1st 2008 London 25
1st 2008 Berlin 25
2. Gete Wami (ETH) 65
2nd 2007 London 15
1st 2007 Berlin 25
2nd 2007 New York 15
3rd 2008 London 10
3. Lidiya Grigoryeva (RUS) 55
1st 2007 Boston 25
4th 2007 New York 5
1st 2008 Chicago 25
4. Zhou Chunxiu (CHN) 50
1st 2007 London 25
2nd 2007 World Championships 15
3rd 2008 Olympic Games 10
Paula Radcliffe (GBR) 50
1st 2007 New York 25
1st 2008 New York 25
6. Catherine Ndereba (KEN) 42
1st 2007 World Championships 25
5th 2007 New York 1
2nd 2008 Olympic Games 15
5th 2008 New York 1
7. Constantina Tomescu-Dita (ROU) 35
3rd 2007 London 10
1st 2008 Olympic Games 25
4th 2008 Chicago 5
8. Alevtina Biktimirova (RUS) 30
2nd 2008 Boston 15
2nd 2008 Chicago 15
Jelena Prokopcuka (LAT) 30
2nd 2007 Boston 15
3rd 2007 New York 10
4th 2008 Boston 5
10. Berhane Adere (ETH) 25
1st 2007 Chicago 25
Dire Tune (ETH) 25
1st 2008 Boston 25


Men

1. Martin Lel (KEN) 76 Points
1st 2007 London 25
1st 2007 New York 25
1st 2008 London 25
5th 2008 Olympic Games 1
2. Robert K. Cheruiyot (KEN) 55
1st 2007 Boston 25
4th 2007 Chicago 5
1st 2008 Boston 25
Abderrahim Goumri (MAR) 55
2nd 2007 London 15
2nd 2007 New York 15
3rd 2008 London 10
2nd 2008 New York 15
4. Haile Gebrselassie (ETH) 50
1st 2007 Berlin 25
1st 2008 Berlin 25
5. Samuel Wanjiru (KEN) 40
2nd 2008 London 15
1st 2008 Olympic Games 25
6. Jaouad Gharib (MAR) 35
4th 2007 London 5
2nd 2007 Chicago 15
2nd 2008 Olympic Games 15
7. James Kwambai (KEN) 31
2nd 2007 Boston 15
5th 2007 New York 1
2nd 2008 Berlin 15
8. Evans Cheruiyot (KEN) 25
1st 2008 Chicago 25
Patrick Ivuti (KEN) 25
1st 2007 Chicago 25
Luke Kibet (KEN) 25
1st 2007 World Championships 25
Marilson Gomes Dos Santos (BRA) 25
1st 2008 New York 25


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| 01.11.2008 | Thrilling WMM final in New York


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Irina Mikitenko leads the second series of the World Marathon Majors (WMM) 2007-2008 together with Gete Wami (Ethiopia) before Sunday’s final event in New York. Both have 65 points. While Wami as well as Catherine Ndereba (Kenya), who also has a small chance of taking the jackpot, run the event Irina Mikitenko will watch the race from the VIP tribune in Central Park.

“Of course it would be a tremendous success to win the WMM series. But one also has to take into account that I run marathons only for little more than one year – who would have thought I could be in such a position after such a short time? I never expected this to happen myself. Of course I would like to win the WMM. But if it is not to be then I will have another chance next year since I have already collected 50 points for the series 2008-2009,” says Irina Mikitenko.

In contrast to Gete Wami, who ran New York after Berlin in 2007 to win the first WMM series, Irina Mikitenko decided against competing so soon after a marathon. She thinks about her future. “There are some races next year, which I want to run very well in. And I think five weeks between two marathons is far too less time. If I run in the future then I want to be able to achive a similar performance as in Berlin. It is not all about money. I mainly run because I very much like it, so I would not risk any problems just for money reasons,” explains Irina Mikitenko.

If Gete Wami can not improve her total number of points and Catherine Ndereba can not win in New York then Mikitenko and Wami will remain tied in first place. In this case the Race Directors of the five races will vote to determine the WMM winner.


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| 29.09.2008 | Irina breaks 2:20 barrier and takes Berlin Marathon in spectacular fashion


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Irina Mikitenko and Haile Gebrselassie delivered fascinating and thrilling performances at the 35th real,- Berlin Marathon in front of an enthusiast crowd of at least one million people. Spurred on by the enormous support Irina Mikitenko became the fourth fastest runner ever at the distance. She stormed into the finish in 2:19:19 and became the first German to break the prestigious 2:20 barrier. The Ethiopian broke his own world record by 27 seconds and with 2:03:59 achieved his goal of becoming the first runner to break 2:04 for the classic distance of 42.195 k.

Irina Mikitenko became the ninth female runner to break 2:20. Mikitenko’s time, which is a world leading as well, is the seventh fastest ever. Only world record holder Paula Radcliffe (Great Britain), Kenya’s Catherine Ndereba and Mizuki Noguchi have ever run faster than Irina Mikitenko. The three year-old Berlin course record of the Japanese Olympic Champion Noguchi just survived by seven seconds.

The real,- Berlin Marathon is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race. Regarding the combination of the two winning times the race was the second best marathon ever seen. Added up Gebrselassie and Mikitenko ran 4:23:18. Only Chicago in 2002 was slightly better (Khannouchi 2:05:56 plus Radcliffe 2:17:18 = 4:23:14).

At the 35th edition of Germany’s biggest and most spectacular road race 40,827 runners from 107 nations competed. Weather conditions were ideal with temperatures between 12 and 16° Celsius and sunshine. There was partly some slight wind, but the wind was not as strong as forecasted. Because of the great conditions and atmosphere the first two men and the first
three women plus a number of other runners broke their personal bests in Berlin. Some of them did this by huge margins.

“I still can’t quite believe it,” said an overjoyed Irina Mikitenko after her win. The clock showed 2:19:19 as the 1.58 m tall long distance runner in her third marathon became the first German since Uta Pippig 13 years ago to win this classic marathon. Mikitenko didn’t follow the suicide pace of the leading group when the race began. Askale Tafa Magarsa, Shuru Deriba (both from Ethiopia) and the Kenyan pair of Helena Kirop and Rose Cheruiyot went through 10km in 32:49. That put them on course for a finishing time of 2:18:30 – only Paula Radcliffe has run faster than that. But Mikitenko was still running very fast in going through 10 km in 33:11 in fourth place – that set her en route to a sub 2:20 time.

Irina Mikitenko’s husband and coach Alexander, who was following the race on a bicycle, was constantly trying to get his wife to slow down. But he only partially succeeded. When the lead group, by now reduced to two runners – Magarsa and Kirop – reached halfway in 69:37, Mikitenko was 28 seconds down in 70:05, still with a chance of catching them. And while the 36-year-old, who won 80,000 Euros for her win, maintained her pace, she first made up the ground on Kirop and then Magarsa as these two predictably slowed down.

After 25km Mikitenko was getting closer to the Ethiopian Magarsa who by now was the outright leader, catching her soon after. For a few kilometres she ran just a metre behind her, then made a strong break from the opponent who had been expected to offer the biggest threat. In the closing stages Mikitenko could raise the pace even more and finished in 2:19:19. That was an improvement of almost five minutes, just like James Kwambai. Askale Magarsa ran the top-class time of 2:21:31 in second place, also a considerable improvement. Third was Helena Kirop in 2:25:01.


The fastest women ever

02:15:25 Paula Radcliffe GBR London 2003
02:18:47 Catherine Ndereba KEN Chicago 2001
02:19:12 Mizuki Noguchi JPN Berlin 2005
02:19:19 Irina Mikitenko GER Berlin 2008
02:19:36 Deena Kastor USA London 2006
02:19:39 Yingye Sun CHN Peking 2003
02:19:41 Yoko Shibui JPN Berlin 2004
02:19:46 Naoko Takahashi JPN Berlin 2001
02:19:51 Chunxiu Zhou CHN Seoul 2006


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| 26.09.2008 | „If I race, I always want to win“

This Sunday Irina Mikitenko will run the real,- Berlin Marathon. Last year she was second at this race, which was her marathon debut. Irina ran 2:24:51, which was in fact the by far fastest marathon debut by a German female runner. At the Flora London Marathon in April she surprisingly won with 2:24:14. This is the time she now wants to further improve on Sunday. Before her start in Berlin Irina gave the following interview:


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In summer a back problem stopped you from competing at the Olympic Games. Now you are running Berlin instead of Beijing. How did your training go in the past weeks and months?

Irina Mikitenko: „Despite the problem I had been able to train at the time before the Olympics. I was able to do endurance training. But for a longer period I could not do any of the vital speed sessions. Whenever I tried I ended up with back and pelvis pains and had to stop. It was sad, but I had to cancel my start in Beijing because of that. For a bit more than four weeks I am now able to run fast again in training. So I could prepare well for Berlin and did weekly training of between 180 and 200 kilometres.”

How did your training go compared to the London in spring?

Irina Mikitenko: „Because of the injury it was all completely different and it is impossible to compare. But my fine time at the German 10 k championships shows me that I am in a good form – may be similar to London.”

With which goals will you run in Berlin?

Irina Mikitenko: „I will give my very best and as usual when I go into a race I want to win it. If you are satisfied with a third place and somehow admit defeat already before the race then why do you go to this race? My other goal is to further improve my personal best in Berlin. I want to run sub 2:24. Running well in Berlin would be a good sign for me regarding the World Championships next year in Berlin, where I want to run the marathon.”

You are still unbeaten this year.

Irina Mikitenko: „Yes, I have won all of my six races. This is a big motivation for me and additionally if you enter the next race you do so with great self confidence. Winning the Flora London Marathon was of course the highlight and this really spured me on. When I ran the Avon Women’s Race in Berlin after London specatators shouted: ,Thank you for London’. This was a great feeling and so I hope that I can win the Real Berlin Marathon on Sunday.”

Do you feel you are as strong as never before since you started your marathon career?

Irina Mikitenko: „Yes, I think I am in my best form ever. This also has to do with the training, which is much more fun again after I changed to the marathon. One reason for this is of course that everything goes well and I have success.Another reason for the joy in training is that I know I can still do better. You get additional motivation when you know that there is still room for improvement. Once you have reached your limit it will get much more difficult to motivate yourself for training.”

What are your next goals after Berlin?

Irina Mikitenko: „I am pretty sure that as a defending champion I will return to the Flora London Marathon. After that I would like to run the marathon in the World Championships in Berlin. I hope this will work.”

If you should win in Berlin on Sunday and you have a bit of luck you may still win the World Marathon Majors (WMM) Series 2007 – 2008. Do you look at the points’ table?

Irina Mikitenko: „First of all I fully concentrate on my race in Berlin. I want to run well on Sunday. After that we will see how many points I will have and how it goes on at the following WMM races.”

Would you consider running New York to win the WMM series as Gete Wami did last year?

Irina Mikitenko: “That is not on my schedule. If I have a great race on Sunday and then wake up on Monday and say ,Oh I want to run another one’ then I might consider this. But you have to look ahead to next year as well since there are a couple of more races to come.”

Did you watch the women’s Olympic Marathon on TV? If you did, what did you think when you saw how the race went?

Irina Mikitenko: „Yes, I did watch it at nightime on TV and it made me angry. Because I saw the great opportunity I had missed due to the injury. At one stage I could not stand it and switched the TV off. But then I switched it back on because I was too curious how it would end.”

It is difficult to tell from the distance and purely hypothetical – but do you think you would have had the courrage to follow tha latter winner Constantina Tomescu-Dita, when she went away before the half way mark?

Irina Mikitenko: „Normally I am the type of runner who takes a risk so I believe that I would have gone with her … but of course this is very difficult to judge from sitting at home. For example I don’t know if I would have coped well with the conditions. But one should not look back too much, because otherwise you will loose too much energy.”

What about the Olympics in London in 2012?

Irina Mikitenko: „It is a long way but, yes, London is a goal.”


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| 15.09.2008 | Berlin Marathon next race after world 10 k lead


Irina Mikitenko returns to the real,- Berlin Marathon.
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Irina Mikitenko’s next race will be the real,- Berlin Marathon on 28th September. This was announced by the athlete and the organisers today. The 36 year-old decided to go for this marathon after a successful test race on Saturday. Irina Mikitenko won the German 10 k road race championships in Karlsruhe. Despite cool and wet conditions she clocked 30:57 minutes on a slippery surface.

The time is not just a personal best but also a world lead. Hilda Kibet (Netherlands) had clocked 31:03 earlier in the year. Irina Mikitenko, who started concentrating on road races in 2006, became the eighth fastest 10 k runner ever and broke her own German record by 31 seconds. She had run 31:28 back in 2003 in Paderborn. A year ago she had placed second in her marathon debut in Berlin (2:24:51) and then she went on to sensationally take the Flora London Marathon in April (2:24:14).

Back problems then stopped her from competing at the Olympic marathon in Beijing. “It was sad to miss that one. Though I was able to train I could not do any speed sessions because of the back. Running in Beijing would have made no sense,” the 36 year-old said. “My aim in Berlin will be to further improve my personal best. And as always when I start a race I want to win.” Ethiopia’s Askale Tafa, who has a personal best of 2:23:23 from Dubai in January, looks like the strongest opponent for Irina Mikitenko. But Kenyans Rose Cheruiyot (PB: 2:25:48) and Helena Kiprop (2.26:27), who had placed third in Berlin in 2007, might also be in with a chance.

Irina Mikitenko could become the sole leader of the World Marathon Majors (WMM) series 2008 – 2009 in Berlin. She is the only German runner so far to have collected any points in the WMM. “I have always run well in Berlin and I am in good form now. So that is why I decided to run this marathon again.”

Running in Karlsruhe Irina Mikitenko ran her own pace right from the start. “I wanted to test myself regarding a marathon start,” she said. In the first of four rounds Sabrina Mockenhaupt went with her, but afterwards Irina Mockenhaupt was all on her own. It was her first race after the London 10,000, which she had won in May.

“There were no split times until the 5 k mark. And when I saw the clock showing 15:27 minutes I though – wow that is pretty fast. I then thought I should just try to keep the pace, which went very well. I had no problem,” said Irina Mikitenko, who was well ahead of fellow German Sabrina Mockenhaupt (31:50).


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| 03.05.2008 | Fine form in 10,000 m championships


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Irina Mikitenko ran her first race after her sensational win at the Flora London Marathon. 20 days after London she dominated the German 10,000 m championships in Menden. Running all on her own right from the start Irina Mikitenko lapped all the others runners and finished in 31:57.71 minutes.

“I will run the marathon in Beijing. So I had no ambitions of going for the qualifying time in this race,” Irina Mikitenko said. She missed this time by less than 18 seconds but it looked as if she would have been well capable of achieving that in a serious race. Simret Restle was second with 33:30.31 minutes.

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| 13.04.2008 | Sensational win at the Flora London Marathon

With a sensational performance Irina Mikitenko has established herself in the world-class of marathon running in London. The 35 year-old won the best quality race over the classic distance this spring in 2:24:14 hours. Irina Mikitenko is only the second German winner of the London Marathon after Katrin Dörre-Heinig who has won the race three times between 1992 and 1994. Additionally Mikitenko achieved the first German victory in a World Marathon Majors (WMM) race since 1996. Back then Uta Pippig had triumphed at the 100th Boston Marathon.  In the race with about 35,000 participants Irina Mikitenko also improved the German record of 2:24:35 which Katrin Dörre-Heinig had set in Hamburg in 1999. The fastest German time, however, was run by Uta Pippig in Boston in 1994 with 2:21:45. Since Boston is a point to point course, according to the current regulations these results are not listed as official records anymore.

Irina Mikitenko, London Marathon -  photorun.net
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In nearly perfect weather conditions – only at the end strong rain set in – the men’s race was won by last year’s winner Martin Lel. The 29 year-old Kenyan set a new course record in a world-class time of 2:05:15 hours and took victory from his compatriot Sammy Wanjiru (2:05:24) and Abderrahim Goumri (Morocco/2:05:30). For the first time three runners ran sub-2:06 hours in a marathon.

Already half a year ago Irina Mikitenko had run a strong debut as runner-up in 2:24:51 in Berlin. In a courageous manner she now ran to her first victory in her second marathon in London. Again and again it was the German who determined the pace at the front. The favourite Gete Wami (Ethiopia), who won the first of the World Marathon Majors Series last year, as well as the recent Chicago Marathon winner Berhane Adere (Ethiopia) held back. Obviously they did not count on the former top 5,000 m runner Irina Mikitenko.

„I felt absolutely fit and wanted to run even faster,“ said Irina Mikitenko who believes that a time around 2:21 hours is possible for her. “At km 30 I knew that I had a chance to win.” Four kilometres before the finish line she left the last two competitors behind. Svetlana Zakharova (Russia/2:24:39) and Gete Wami (2:25:37), who stumbled at 30 km and even fell, could not keep up with Irina Mikitenko’s finish and consequently placed second and third.

After this groundbreaking success Irina Mikitenko should also be able to play a major role in the Olympic marathon in Beijing. It should not be forgotten, however, that world record holder Paula Rdacliffe (Great Britain) as well as the Olympic champion from Athens Mizuki Noguchi (Japan) were not running in London.

In the new World Marathon Majors (WMM) series of 2008 – 2009, in which the runners gain points in Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, New York as well as at the Olympic Games and World Championships, there is now for the first time a German leader. The winners get 500,000 dollar at the end.
 
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| 22.03.2008 | Mikitenko shows fine form in the snow of Paderborn


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The women’s events produced the best quality winning times during the traditional Easter Race in Paderborn (Germany). Peninah Arusei (Kenya) improved her 10 k personal best to 31:42 minutes while Irina Mikitenko took the half marathon. Preparing for the Flora London Marathon on 13th April Mikitenko clocked 68:51 minutes despite cold weather with a mixture of snow and rain coming down. It was a personal best for the 35 year-old German as well. The 62nd edition of the Paderborn race had 7,802 entries.

Taking the lead right from the start Irina Mikitenko was never challenged. “It went surprisingly well,” said Mikitenko, who improved her personal best from April 2007 by 55 seconds. London will only be her second marathon after a great debut in Berlin in September 2007 with 2:24:51. Mikitenko’s time also was a course record, which had been held by Joyce Chepchumba (Kenya) with 69:24 from 1997. And for more than ten years no German woman had been as fast as Mikitenko in Paderborn. Emily Kimuria (Kenya) was second in 1:15:43.
 
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