Bonn Nikki Johnstone from the LAZ athletics club completed a lonely race in perfect weather to win over 42.195 kilometres. The Bonn marathon saw a record number of participants, fancy dress costumes and a happy Lord Mayor.
Everything was ideal for the 19th Deutsche Post Marathon: perfect weather for runners and spectators, a party atmosphere on Bonn’s streets and a record number of participants. 13,912 runners were on the entry lists. And those looking at the many happy faces of the runners from 50 nations, looked into the eyes of enthusiasts. Bonn experienced a dream marathon day on Sunday.
It was ten degrees at the start of the half marathon, heading later towards 20 degrees and initially hardly any wind, which freshened only later. It only became too warm for those athletes who first started at 10.30am in the run over the full marathon distance of 42.195 kilometres and were still going in the afternoon. The winner was thrilled. “The atmosphere in the finish area was breathtaking,” enthused Nikki Johnstone. The Scot, who lives in Düsseldorf and works as a teacher at the international school in Neuss, is a frequent racer. He wins a race in the Rhineland nearly every weekend and is well-known in the sport. No wonder then, that Thomas Eickmann, athletics director at the LAZ Puma Rhein-Sieg club, happily included him in his team.
Despite the many stresses, Johnstone clocked up a very respectable winning time alone on the asphalt: at 2:23:06, he was only 1:16 over his personal best time. “I found it easy. The temperatures were perfect for me,” said the 35-year-old afterwards and promised: “I’ll be happy to come back next year.”
The delighted marathon winner Claudia Maria Henneken (3:16:24) from DauerLaufVerein Cologne, was a curiosity – she had already just won the inline skating competition. Like Johnstone, Henneken could look forward to a Euro 500 prize. The same sum went to the young Justus Kaufmann, who finished third in the half marathon. The 18-year-old, the best runner from the Bonn/Rhine-Sieg region among the 8000 strong running field over 21.0975 kilometres, received the third prize as part of the newly introduced German Half Marathon Youth Cup.
“Youth performance is a matter of concern to us,” said Axel Breme from the title sponsor Deutsche Post DHL Group, explaining the unique level of awards for young people in Germany (a total of Euro 14,000). Above all, though, he sees the Bonn marathon as, “a signal to large sections of the population that it’s worth getting moving.”
Bonn’s Lord Mayor came to this realisation years ago. The Mayor said in the press conference at the Old Town Hall after his leg in the relay that as in previous years he would have preferred to run the half marathon. “It says in my speech that I am exhausted and happy,” said Sridharan. “I’m not exhausted, but I am happy.” As were most of the crowds of runners at the finish, of course.
For more on the marathon, go to ga-bonn.de/marathon
(Original text: Berthold Mertes, Thomas Heinen and Bernd Jolsten. Translation: kc)