Reigning European 10,000m champion Morhad Amdouni reached the podium on home soil in the Paris Marathon on Sunday (3) and also smashed the long-standing French record in the process.
The previous record had stood to the mercurial Benoit Zwierzchlewski at 2:06:36 since 2003 but Amdouni slashed more than one minute from this mark in 2:05:22 to move to fourth on the European all-time list which is headed by Belgium’s Bashir Abdi with 2:03:36.
Amdouni achieved one of his two objectives but the 33-year-old was also hoping to become the first French winner of this race since Zwierzchlewski in 2002. Amdouni finished just behind the Ethiopian duo of Deso Gelmisa (2:05:07) and Seifu Tura (2:05:10).
"There is always the apprehension of the marathon wall. I had the record in mind but I wanted to win," Amdouni told L'Équipe after the race.
“I believed it at one point. I need to be able to gain experience over distance. I also ran for the position. I'm really happy to be able to make a podium with big Ethiopian runners who are used to these races. I thought for a moment I was going to come back to them. I missed it. But it will come.”
European half marathon record-holder Julien Wanders from Switzerland was beset by stomach issues on his marathon debut and was limited to an 18th place finish in 2:11:52.
"Unfortunately, I started to have stomach issues after only five kilometres which forced me to stop three times between 10km and halfway. I decided not to take any more drinks after that and hold on with the second group up to 40km.
"I ended the race in 2:11:52 with hypothermia and hypoglycemia. It's tough but it's life," he said.
Mayer and Pfeiffer make it a German double in Hannover
Domenika Mayer made the perfect start to her marathon career with victory on her debut in the HAJ Hannover Marathon in 2:26:50 to defeat arguable pre-race favourite and teammate Rabea Schoneborn in 2:27:35.
"I didn't think about it because some competitions go well from the start and others not so much. Today was a good day. I just focused on my pacemaker and just let it flow. However, the wind was quite unpleasant at times. It was wonderful. Of course, I didn't know what to expect," she said.
In the men’s race, Hendrik Pfeiffer ran almost identical halfway splits for victory in the men’s race in 2:10:59. After passing through halfway in 65:25, Pfeiffer’s pace barely deviated with a second half split of 65:34 to win by almost three minutes from Kenya’s Josphat Kiprono Kiptis in 2:13:47.
“The mood today was great. The spectators along the route carried me through the race. But I had to bite my teeth for the last twelve kilometres. I achieved all my goals today; that was very important for me,” said Pfeiffer.
Both Mayer and Pfeiffer were also crowned German marathon champions.
In the Berlin Half Marathon on Sunday, Brit Samantha Harrison smashed her lifetime best with 68:12 to finish fifth in a race won by Kenya's Sheila Chepkirui in 65:02. Norway's Zerei Kbrom was the leading European finisher in the men's race, clocking 60:42 behind Kenya's Alex Kibet in 58:55.
Briggs breaks European U23 record in Manchester
There were British victories in the Manchester Marathon on Sunday. Only 22, Becky Briggs won the women's race in a lifetime best of 2:29:06. Not only was this a qualifying standard for the European Championships in Munich, her time also broke the European U23 record of 2:30:50 which had stood to Uta Pippig since 1987.
“I can’t believe it as I didn’t feel great before the marathon. I've beaten the qualifying times! It was great conditions and it’s a great race," she told AW after the race.
Johnny Mellor won the men's race in 2:10:59 ahead of his training partner and debutant Ross Millington in 2:11:38. Ireland's Kevin Seaward was third in 2:11:54.