Irina Mikitenko

| 03.11.2009 | Biggest winning margin in WMM history

Family celebration in New York: Irina Mikitenko together with her husband Alexander and their son Alex. Their small daughter Vanessa was back home in Germany.
With the biggest winning margin ever achieved in one of the three finished World Marathon Majors (WMM) Series Irina Mikitenko took the 2008-2009 title. The 37 year-old collected 90 points from three wins (London 2008 and 2009 as well as Berlin 2008) and one second place (Chicago 2009). So she was 50 points clear of second placed Ethiopian Dire Tune. It is likely that this winning margin will remain unsurpassed for a longer time. A year ago Irina Mikitenko had also won the closest WMM series. She was tied in first place with Ethiopia’s Gete Wami, but other factors (for example number of races and average time) were in favour of Irina Mikitenko.

Besides the biggest and the smallest winning margins Irina Mikitenko produced another WMM superlative: She is the first runner to have won two series and she still remains the only non African winner. Together with the men’s champion Sammy Wanjiru (Kenya) Irina Mikitenko was honoured in New York on Monday. Both received a symbolic cheque of 500,000 US Dollar, which is the winner’s prize.

“I am overjoyed to have won the WMM series for a second time. This is a success which brings plenty of prestige since for a period of two years you have to be extremely successful at the world’s best quality and most spectacular marathons. This is not easy and such a success can not come by coincidence or luck,” said Irina Mikitenko in New York and added: “Putting aside my wins I really like the concept of the World Marathon Majors. With this idea the five race directors have managed to further increase attention to road running and to develop our sport.”


| 13.10.2009 | „The children are happy with my second place“

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With her second place at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon Irina Mikitenko continued her series of high-class marathon results on Sunday. From the five marathon races she has run so far during her career she won three and took two second places. All these five races belong to the World Marathon Majors. After the Bank of America Chicago Marathon Irina Mikitenko gave the following interview:

How do you feel after coming in second?

Irina Mikitenko: I think there is no need to hide. A second place in Chicago is quite an achievement. May be I am a little bit disappointed that I did not win, but Liliya Shobukova was better prepared than me.

You had said before that she would be a strong contender.

Irina Mikitenko: Yes, I expected her to do well and I knew: If she would be still running in the leading group at the final stages of the race she would be faster than me.

What helped Liliya Shobukova at the end was her tremendous track speed. Would you have had better chances if the race had been clearly faster?

Irina Mikitenko: I think so, but the problem was that it was extremely cold. That was why the pace was so slow. Additionally my preparation had been shorter than usual, so it was not quite as good as before. Because of this I did not dare to pick up the pace earlier. May be that was a tactical mistake, but I was not sure if it would go well for me to run faster under these cicumstances. In the final 10 k I pushed the pace, but I could not get away.

You have now won the World Marathon Majors Series 2008-2009.

Irina Mikitenko: Yes, nothing can happen now and of course I am very happy about this, because it is a very special success. You can only win the World Marathon Majors if you are able to produce top results for two years.

What will you do now?

Irina Mikitenko: We have booked a holiday and will fly to Turkey. We are all looking forward to some warm weather at the sea. The children have phoned me from home right after the race and they were very happy about my second place. They had realised how difficult my preparation was for this race.

What are your goals for 2010?

Irina Mikitenko: So far I have no definite plans for the spring. First of all I want to relax and regenerate. I can well imagine running the 10,000 metres in the European Championships in Barcelona next summer.


| 12.10.2009 | Great second place in freezing Chicago

Irina Mikitenko runs in freezing conditions.
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With a fine second place at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon Irina Mikitenko came back after not competing for almost half a year. The 37 year-old German was not yet in the kind of form as for example a year ago, when she had broken the German record in Berlin with 2:19:19. That was because she had missed plenty of training in summer, when her father was critically ill at first and then died in July. But after this very difficult period a second place at the high-class Chicago race must be regarded as a great success for Irina Mikitenko. Only Russia’s Liliya Shobukova, who clocked 2:25:56 on Sunday, was faster than Irina Mikitenko, who reached the finish line in freezing conditions in 2:26:31. “I think there is no need to hide after this performance. Coming in second in Chicago is quite an achievement,” said Irina Mikitenko. Kenya’s Olympic Champion Sammy Wanjiru took the men’s race with a course record of 2:05:41.

Irina Mikitenko and Sammy Wanjiru have now definately secured their win of the World Marathon Majors Series 2008-2009. They share a jackpot prize of one million US Dollar. The two winners will be awarded their prize at a ceremony in New York on 2nd November, a day after the marathon which is the final race of the series. The advantage of Mikitenko and Wanjiru in this series is such that they can not be caught by the New York Marathon winners.

With temperatures just slightly above zero Celsius in Chicago the pace of the women’s race was slow for a major part of the race. The leading group reached 5 k in 18:22 minutes and after that it was hardly getting faster. Clocks showed 1:15:04 for half way. Irina Mikitenko always ran in the first group and then took the initiative around ten kilometres before the finish. But she was unable to surge away from her rivals, who responded well. So at 40 k there were still four runners in the leading group. Ethiopia’s Teyba Erkesso and defending champion Lidiya Grigoryeva (Russia) were running together with Irina Mikitenko and Liliya Shobukova.

„I knew that this would now be my terrain,“ said 31 year-old Liliya Shobukova. With a personal best of 14:23.75 minutes at 5,000 m the Russian is the fourth fastest ever at this distance and the European record holder. With that sort of speed she burst away and Irina Mikitenko was not able to follow her. But the German did still do very well, finishing in front of Lidiya Grigoryeva (2:26:47), Teyba Erkesso (2:26:56), Berhane Adere (Ethiopia/2:28:38) and Deena Kastor (USA/2:28:50). The US record holder ran a fine marathon comeback after breaking a foot in the Olympic marathon in 2008.


| 07.10.2009 | “I am eager to run my US road race debut in Chicago“

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Next Sunday Irina Mikitenko will run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Although she has not raced since winning the Flora London Marathon in April the 37 year-old winner of the World Marathon Majors (WMM) Series 2007-2008 is one of the big favourites in Chicago. And with her London time of 2:22:11 she still leads the world list 2009. Irina Mikitenko gave the following interview:

What are your thoughts regarding your first ever road race in the US? So far only once you competed in America. That was at the Atlanta Olympics back in 1996, when you ran the 5,000 m heats.

Irina Mikitenko: I am eager to run my US road race debut on Sunday, because there are a lot of big and high-class races in America. And it is there where the running boom once began and the first major city marathons were started. But I am also curious to find out how my body will react to the time shift and how everything else goes. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon will be my third race of the five World Marathon Majors. So far I ran Berlin and London. May be it will be possible for me to compete at all five.

After the death of your father in July you withdrew from the World Championships’ Marathon in Berlin. When did you decide to run Chicago?

Irina Mikitenko: I started training properly again shortly before the World Championships. I did not put any pressure on myself, I just wanted to see how my form developed. Then I went to St Moritz in Switzerland for high altitude training on 30th August. There my form got better and better from week to week. So I more and more tended to run another major race this year. Additionally I did not like the idea of having a too long break without competing, because the longer you wait the harder it gets to come back. It was not easy psychologically to get back into training after the death of my father. So I was hasitating for some time regarding my decision to run or not to run in Chicago. I knew that this is quite a challenge, because there is very good competition there and I expect it to be a fast race as well.

How is your form? Can you compare it with the time before you clocked 2:19:19 in Berlin a year ago?

Irina Mikitenko: I could train well in St. Moritz and my form is okay. I had not as much time though in the built-up than I had before other marathons, but I hope it was just enough. I can not make any comparissons because the preparation was different because of the shorter training period. But I was happy to be able to train right to the end of September in St. Moritz, which is my usual high altitude base. It got quite cold in the morning, but all in all the weather was fine. I have never been up there so late in the year before. They start skiing there soon!

How long was your longest single training run, also compared to former built-ups. And up to how many kilometres did you train per week?

Irina Mikitenko: My longest single training run was 32 k while in former times I used to run up to 35 k. For a certain period I managed to run 200 kilometres per week as in other marathons preparations before. Since I had less time I decided to put more emphasis on quality during the final part of the training for Chicago. That means I ran faster in training but covered less kilometers. I ran about 180 k per week in that final period.

What is your goal in Chicago?

Irina Mikitenko: It is difficult to say what may be possible. But in general when I am running a big race I always want to win and I give everything to achieve that. There are strong contenders in this race, but I have to concentrate on myself.

Who do you think will be the strongest rivals?

Irina Mikitenko: I expect that the Russians will be strong – especially Liliya Shobukhova. She was third in London in April, when she ran her first marathon. She probably was not able to show her full potential in that debut race. I also expect that Ethiopia’s Teyba Erkesso could do very well. And then of course there is Deena Kastor, whose US record is just slightly slower than my German record. And for her it will be some sort of a home game on Sunday.

No matter what happens on Sunday – you have more or less already won the World Marathon Majors Series 2008-2009.

Irina Mikitenko: There are two more races in this series. Right now I only concentrate on Chicago – Sunday’s race is number one and I will not care about anything else until after the race. Then I will have a look at the points’ table.

Is there a major goal you have for the future?

Irina Mikitenko: The London Olympic Marathon in 2012 remains a huge goal. To run the classic distance at the Olympic Games is something unique.


| 16.09.2009 | Irina runs Chicago Marathon on 11th October

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Irina Mikitenko will run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on 11th October. It will be her first competition since her win at the Flora London Marathon on 26th April. Because of the death of her father the 37 year-old had cancelled her start at the World Championships in Berlin. She had been regarded as one of the big favourites before the event in August. Meanwhile Irina Mikitenko feels ready again for a major marathon. It will be the first time that she will run a road race in the US.

Irina Mikitenko will be up against tough opposition at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, which belongs to the World Marathon Majors (WMM) Series. While she is the German record holder with a time of 2:19:19 Iirina Mikitenko will meet the US record holder Deena Kastor (2:19:36), who has won a bronze medal at the Olympic marathon race in Athens in 2004. Kastor has already won the Chicago race four years ago. Among the other strong opponents is Russia’s Liliya Shobukhova. She ran an excellent debut at the Flora London Marathon in April, placing third in 2:24:24.

Only once so far has Irina Mikitenko competed in the US. That was back in 1996 at the Atlanta Olympics. She was still competing for Kazaksthan at that time, it was shortly before she moved to Germany. Irina Mikitenko missed qualifying for the 5,000 m final in Atlanta. Now she comes to Chicgao after winning three major marathons: London and Berlin in 2008 as well as London again this year.


| 15.05.2009 | European Athlete of the Month

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European Athletics is pleased to announce that German marathon star Irina Mikitenko and Estonian Olympic Discus champion Gerd Kanter have been selected as the European Athletes of the Month for April. Mikitenko caused a sensation last year when she won the Flora London Marathon for the first time, but this year her victory was less of a surprise when the German crossed the line in a world-leading performance of 2:22:11.

The former Kazakhstan athlete, who set a new German record of 2:19:19 when she won the Berlin Marathon last September, has now placed herself at the top of the world rankings, currently leads the world marathon majors table by a huge 35-point margin and is favourite to land the $500,000 top prize at the end of the year.

The 36-year-old, who finished fifth in the Sydney Olympic 5,000m in 2000, will compete at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin. With a second London victory already under her belt she will be a favourite for victory in front of her passionate home supporters.

Irina Mikitenko is eager to pass on her training knowledge to fun runners and ambitioned athletes. This is why she started cooperating with the Swiss online training planner VICSYSTEM.COM. Runners get individual training schedules according to their abilities and goals.
The runners-up in the women's poll were Norwegian double Olympic 20km Walk silver medallist Kjersti Tysse Plaetzer and Polish Pole Vaulter Sonia Grabowska. The European Athlete of the Month initiative was launched in January 2007 and is designed to recognise outstanding performers at all levels of the sport in Europe.

European Athletics names a male and female winner each month and features the athlete on the European Athletics website. Selections are based on votes by the public, the media and a panel of European Athletics experts, with each counting for 33.3 percent of the final vote.

For more information, please visit:


| 28.04.2009 | "Now I hope for a World Championships' medal"

Irina Mikitenko with the trophy in front of the Tower Bridge.

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Having won the Flora London Marathon for a second consecutive time Irina Mikitenko now hopes for a medal at the World Championships’ Marathon in Berlin on 23rd August. Clocking the second best time ever in her marathon career with 2:22:11 the 36 year-old also achieved a world leading result. After the Flora London Marathon Irina Mikitenko gave the following interview:
Some time after your victory, how do you feel now and how do you rate this success?

Irina Mikitenko: “I am still very, very happy. Each victory is unique, but winning for a second time in London is extra special for me. This means a lot to me, because if you go into such a major race as the defending champion you mentally carry quite a burden. I was not quite sure how to handle this best and the days before the start were not easy. I desperately wanted to win again, but I asked myself what would happen if I would come in second? Although you have to say that in a race like the Flora London Marathon even third place is a great result. To have won the race gives me a lot of confidence, especially regarding the World Championships in Berlin.”

Were you surprised that the likes of Constantina Dita, Catherine Ndereba, Gete Wami and Berhane Adere never showed up in the leading group?

Irina Mikitenko: “Yes, indeed. I had expected that they would all be there. I thought we would see a similar race as last year, where we had a much bigger leading group with all the favourites.”

Have you had contact with your two children, Alexander and Vanessa?

Irina Mikitenko: “They were staying at my parents and they all watched the race on TV. I think they were so excited that they already turned on the TV on Saturday evening and did not leave until the race was over! Right after I finished they sent text messages and later we used Skype to talk and see each other on the screen. They were all extremely happy to see me winning. My small daughter had said, Mummy, please run fast so that you get back home sooner. Now she is disappointed after she learnt that I did run fast but will come back home even later because of the winner’s press conference and promotion activities on Monday.”

What will you do prior to the World Championships in Berlin?

Irina Mikitenko: “There is not that much time if you prepare for a marathon. I will have a two-week break now to recover and then preparations for Berlin will begin. Unfortunately I will probably not be able to run any more races in the spring because of the built-up for Berlin. That is a pity because my form is so good now. But the World Championships will have priority. It is likely that the marathon in Berlin will be my next race. My training schedule will be similar to last year in the spring and summer though I will try to increase mileage a bit. I will again go to St. Moritz for high altitude training.”

What will be your goal in Berlin?

Irina Mikitenko: “I hope to win a medal – even if it should get hot, which I don’t like. After London I know that I am now regarded as a favourite. I don’t particular like this position, but I have shown in London that I am mentally strong and that I am able to handle this.”

Looking at the World Marathon Majors rankings it looks very likely that you will become the first runner to win it two times in a row.

Irina Mikitenko: “In the 2008-2009 series I am in really good position. Making up 35 points will be really difficult for the other runners. And I can still add further points from one more race. So I have a great chance of winning again, but: never say never.”


| 26.04.2009 | Second triumph at Flora London Marathon

Irina Mikitenko shows the way in London, leading Mara Yamauchi and Zhou Chunxiu (right).
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In superb style Irina Mikitenko has defended her title as the Flora London Marathon champion. The 36 year-old won the world’s number one city marathon with a world lead of 2:22:11, beating the surprisingly strong Mara Yamauchi (Great Britain/2:23:12) and Russia’s debutant Liliya Shobukova (2:24:24). It is the second fastest time of the German national record holder (2:19:19), who after an initial second place in Berlin in 2007 won all her following three marathon races.

London seems to be the perfect place for Irina Mikitenko. Three times she has run road races in the British capital and three times she won. On Sunday Irina Mikitenko left behind the likes of Constantina Dita (Olympic Champion from Romania) as well as Catherine Ndereba (World Champion from Kenya). In between her two Flora London Marathon wins Irina Mikitenko also took a 10 k road race in London.

Having won a second Flora London Marathon Irina Mikitenko has put herself in the position of being the favourite of this summer’s world championships in Berlin. The marathon will be staged on 23rd August, which will be Irina’s 37th birthday. “I am so happy after winning the Flora London Marathon again, but I don’t like the role of the favourite for the world championships,” said Irina Mikitenko, who admitted that she felt quite some pressure on the days before the London race. “To win in London for a second time was much more difficult than winning the first time. It is different if you come to a race as the defending champion.”

Irina Mikitenko is now also the favourite of the World Marathon Majors’ (WMM) Series 2008-2009. After she had already won the 2007-2008 series she now leads with a maximum points’ tally of 75 out of three races (wins in London in 2008 and 2009 plus Berlin 2008). Irina Mikitenko is 35 points clear at the top and could earn the 500,000 Dollar bonus for a second time. It is a similar situation in the men’s series, where the Flora London Marathon winner also is 35 points ahead: Olympic champion Sammy Wanjiru so far has 65 points.

Irina Mikitenko’s impressive success earned her 80,000 US dollars in prize money and time bonuses in a race where she took control early on. As the defending champion from Germany reached halfway on Tower Bridge in 1:10:53 along with the British runner Mara Yamauchi, showing surprisingly strong form and the Chinese Zhou Chunxiu, the London Marathon winner in 2007; at the same time the World Champion Catherine Ndereba (Kenya) and the Olympic champion from Romania, Constantina Dita, were already over a minute behind. They never posed a threat to Mikitenko. It was a different matter in the case of Mara Yamauchi. After the Olympic bronze medallist Chunxiu had dropped back at 28 k, the British runner who had finished sixth in Beijing proved to be Mikitenko’s strongest opponent and refused to be shaken off by the German. “I knew that Mara wanted to run 2:22 but I thought I could beat her if it came to a sprint finish,” said Mikitenko who has much better basic speed than the Briton. The decisive split was between 35 and 40 kilometres when Mikitenko pressed home her attack, building a lead which was just over a minute over Yamauchi (2:23:12) at the finish. Taking a surprising third place was the Russian Liliya Shobukova in 2:24:24 on her marathon debut.

“When I was in front I had to keep pushing the pace so the chasing group couldn’t close the gap. That wasn’t easy because we were running into the wind in the second half,” said Irina Mikitenko who became the first woman since the Briton Paula Radcliffe to successfully defend the title. The world record holder achieved her victories in 2002 and 2003. Next year Mikitenko could equal the London record of Katrin Doerre-Heinig: the only other previous German winner of the race beside the River Thames achieved a hat-trick from 1992 to ’94.

On a day which attracted 36,000 runners the Olympic champion Sammy Wanjiru of Kenya produced a great run. He won a thrilling duel with Tsegay Kebede, running 2:05:10 to beat the Ethiopian by ten seconds. The time was a course record by the 22-year-old and the ninth-fastest in history. Jaouad Gharib of Morocco finished third in 2:05:27.


1. Irina Mikitenko



2. Mara Yamauchi



3. Liliya Shobukova



4. Svetlana Zakharova



5. Berhane Adere



6. Inga Abitova



7. Catherine Ndereba



8. Tomo Morimoto




| 24.04.2009 | „I have trained well and want to win in London“

Irina Mikitenko will be the defending champion in Sunday’s Flora London Marathon. In autumn she became the first non-African runner to win a World Marathon Majors (WMM) Series. Before that she had taken the Berlin Marathon with a German record of 2:19:19. With this personal best the 36 year-old ranks as the fourth fastest runner ever in athletics history. Irina Mikitenko gave the following interview:

What are your goals at the Flora London Marathon?

Irina Mikitenko: I always go to races with the same intention: I want to be the winner. I know that the Flora London Marathon will be a very tough race, but I am prepared for this. Going into a race saying I want to finish third or fourth is not my way of doing it. I know that I have trained well and I will give my best on Sunday.

All three medallists from Beijing will be in the race – what sort of race do you expect?

Irina Mikitenko: London’s women’s elite field is one of the best I have ever seen at a major city marathon. There are a number of very strong runners. But I can not judge who may be the strongest because I have not seen recent results from them. In London you never know what sort of race you get: Last year I expected a fast one, but it got tactical. You have to be ready for both. If it should become tactical one will have to think at what stage it is best to take the initiative.

As a defending champion do you feel you are under more pressure?

Irina Mikitenko: Expectations are surely higher than a year ago, but I don’t let myself put under pressure. What helps is that I know the Flora London Marathon. A year ago everything was new for me – the mile markers on the course, the drink stations and so one. Running the same race a second time is always easier. I look forward to the Flora London Marathon.

You are the leader of the third World Marathon Majors Series 2008-2009. How close do you watch the changes of the rankings?

Irina Mikitenko: I don’t think too much about the WMM now, because first of all I have to run well in London. If I run well I will get the points anyway. Of course I know where I stand in the series, it is not difficult to calculate that. But before a race I don’t start thinking what could change in the points’ table. If you start doing this you can forget about your race.

Did you watch the Boston Marathon on TV?

Irina Mikitenko: Yes I watched the race and hoped that Kara Goucher would win. Because she had worked so hard at the front of the field – but probably she lost too much energy by doing this. Tactics play a major role in such a marathon.

As in 2008 you trained in Kirgisia – why did you go there?

Irina Mikitenko: I know the area from former times. When I lived in Kazachstan I used to train there. My parents in law still live nearby, which is helpful for us, because they were able to take care of our small daughter while we went to the training camp. What is decisive for me is that I am able to train in an altitude between 1,600 and 1,700 metres in Kirgisia. It is the same altitude as in St. Moritz, where I train in the summer. There is no snow in Kirgisia and we had perfect weather conditions for four weeks in March. I don’t like to train in higher regions in Kenya or the USA because you need more time to recover. An altitude of between 1,600 and 1,700 metres is ideal for me, because I can train 100 percent hard there.

What was your maximum mileage and how is your form compared to a year ago?

Irina Mikitenko: I was able to increase my weekly mileage by ten percent compared to a year ago. So I ran up to 220 kilometres per week and the longest single run was 35 k. But it is difficult to compare to last year, because there are always differences. For example we had plenty of snow in January, which made training difficult then. When I ran the 10 k in Paderborn at Easter I felt fine despite the sudden very warm weather conditions. I also felt good during my recent speed training runs. So I think my form is similar to last year, when I came here – I can only tell you after the race if it might be even better than in 2008.


| 21.04.2009 | Train like Irina with Vicsystem

Fun runners and ambitioned athletes can now gain from training knowledge of Irina Mikitenko, who has started to cooperate with VICSYSTEM, a proven Swiss online training planner. With VICSYSTEM it is possible to create individual training plans for distances between 5,000 m and up to the marathon.
Irina Mikitenko, who will be the defending champion in next Sunday’s Flora London Marathon, has broken the 2:20 barrier when winning Berlin in 2008. With a world lead of 2:19:19 she became the fourth fastest runner of all times. In November 2008 Irina Mikitenko was the first Non-African winner of a World Marathon Majors (WMM).

Irina Mikitenko has studied sport. She is a sports teacher and also has a German coaching licence. Together with her husband Alexander, a 13:39.95 5,000 m runner, she plans her own training schedules.

VICSYSTEM'S managing director Patric Lüthi goes for Irina Mikitenko.
Now Irina Mikitenko passes on her knowledge and experience to VICSYSTEM (, which stands for „run to victory – irina’s training system“. With thousands of members VICSYSTEM is already a leading online training planner in German speaking countries. But it is also available online in English. Since the beginning of 2006 VICSYSTEM cooperates with elite runners to offer training schedules from 5,000 m onwards. VICSYSTEM is suitable for all levels of running, from the fun runner to the ambitioned athlete. The programme also adjusts individually if the performance ability of the runner should change, for example because of succesful training.

“We are proud to be supported by Irina. With her help we are able to gain more long distance training know-how and add this to our training system,” said Patric Lüthi, the founder and managing director of VICSYSTEM. “With Irina’s support we make sure that fun runners as well as elite runners can profit from the knowledge of one of the world’s best runners.”

Irina Mikitenko looks forward to this new challenge: “Naturally as a sports teacher I am interested in passing on my experience as an elite runner to other runners, so that they are able to train properly. With VICSYSTEM I have found the ideal partner to do just this and reach a large number of people.”

Runners who use VICSYSTEM receive a regularly published newsletter with up to date information on training science and various other topics in conjunction with their training. In future Irina Mikitenko will join training camps organised by VICSYSTEM to pass on her knowledge directly to the participants.

More information is available at:


| 12.04.2009 | Irina Mikitenko takes Paderborn and is ready for London

Irina Mikitenko is back in top form: Clocking a very fast 31:22 minutes she took the 10 k race of the traditional Paderborn Easter Race in convincing style in Germany on Saturday. The defending champion clearly is on schedule for the Flora London Marathon on 26th April. The German marathon record holder (2:19:19) clocked the second fastest time in the world this year and the second fastest ever by a German. Mikitenko’s performance was the highlight of the Paderborner Osterlauf. A record number of more than 8,000 runners had entered the race.

“I am happy with this result. It is a time which suits me fine, because it was my aim to run 31:30 today,” said 36 year-old Irina Mikitenko, who dominated the race after taking the lead at 4 k. She then passed the 5 k point on schedule in 15:45 minutes and was able to run the second half slightly faster. Finishing with 31:22 she was more than a minute ahead of Kenyans Sally Barsosio (32:25) and Alice Mogire (33:21).

Irina Mikitenko had returned from her high altitude training camp in Kirgisia last Monday. She had stayed there for four weeks and was able to train very well. “Running on the fifth day after coming down from high altitude is probably not ideal, but it is all scheduled for London and Paderborn was just a test,” said Irina Mikitenko. Regarding the sudden very warm weather with temperatures between 23 and 25° Celsius she said: “I felt it was a little bit too warm, especially because of the sudden change of temperature.”

Irina Mikitenko’s time is the second fastest in the world this year behind Vivian Cheruiyot (Kenya), who had won in Puerto Rico with 31:12. Mikitenko’s German record from 2008 stands at 30:57 minutes. Winning in Paderborn is a good omen for Irina Mikitenko. A year ago she had taken the half marathon of the event and then went on to win in London.


| 01.03.2009 | Irina third at Rome Ostia Half Marathon

Irina Mikitenko started her 2009 campaign with a third place. On the difficult course of the Rome Ostia Half Marathon she clocked 71:01 minutes. “This course was like a mountain race, it was constantly going up and down. I had not been prepared for something like this. Additionally at the end it was getting wet and windy,” said Irina Mikitenko, who felt okay with the third place and the time.

“It was good training for me with some unplanned mountain running units in between, which is good for my strength. On a flat course I could have run about one minute faster. That is fine for my present situation. If I would run 68 minutes at this stage something would be wrong regarding the built-up for the Flora London Marathon,” said Irina Mikitenko, who will enter the race on 26th April as the defending champion. Britain’s world record holder Paula Radcliffe will be among her rivals in London. Preparing for the marathon Irina Mikitenko plans to run a 10 k race in the first part of April. In the past few weeks the training of the national marathon record holder (2:19:19) had been hampered by very cold weather and snow in Germany. Irina Mikitenko hopes that she will have better conditions from now on.

In Rome the 36 year-old had run her own pace from the start. Anna Incerti (Italy) was the race winner with 69:24 minutes while Christelle Daunay (France/70:30) took second and Rosaria Console (Italy/73:20) fourth. The men’s race was won by Kenya’s Elijah Keitany with 60:59.