Steph Twell targets Tokyo time at Frankfurt Marathon

Brit seeks Olympic qualifying mark, while Lonah Salpeter and Tsegaye Mekonnen head fields for German race

Steph Twell is aiming for a PB and an Olympic qualifying time at the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon on Sunday (October 27).

The 30-year-old ran 2:30:11 on her debut in Valencia last December, so she will be trying to beat the 2:29:30 standard for Tokyo in the German city.

Twell comes into the race in good form after a 70:51 half-marathon PB at the Simplyhealth Great North Run in addition to a 31:44.79 for 10,000m in 15th place at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, plus a 55:02 time for 10 miles at the Cabbage Patch event earlier this month – a time that ranks her No.2 in the UK behind Eilish McColgan.

Earlier this year she also won the women’s race at the Highgate Night of the 10,000m PBs in 31:08.13.

Twell currently ranks 23rd on the UK all-time lists for the marathon but will hope to rise up the rankings this weekend, in addition to nailing the Tokyo qualifier.

After collapsing across the line in London in April in 2:33:59, Hayley Carruthers tackles her second marathon of 2019 in Frankfurt and forms part of an England team alongside Jenny Spink, Peter Le Grice, Paul Navesey, Aaron Scott and Nick Torry.

The women’s field is led by Lonah Salpeter, the Kenyan-born Israeli who has a best of 2:19:46. Among her rivals is the course record-holder and last year’s women’s champion, Meskerem Assefa from Ethiopia, who ran 2:20:36 in 2018.

Other sub-2:22 runners in action are Kenyan Valary Aiyabei, whose PB is 2:20:53, plus Bedatu Hirpa of Ethiopia (PB 2:20:53), who finished third in Frankfurt last year.

Local Frankfurt runner Katharina Steinruck (nee Heinig) will be in the mix, while Britain’s Jess Piasecki is also among the entries as she looks to take on the marathon again after tearing her plantar fascia during her debut in 2015, while well on target for a Rio qualifying time.

Piasecki, who won last month’s Mattoni Ústí nad Labem Half Marathon in 71:34, is coached by Robert Hawkins, father and coach to Callum and Derek, with 2:12 runner Derek among the men’s race entries in Frankfurt.

Last year Mark Kiptoo of Kenya ran a world masters record of 2:07:50 in Frankfurt and he returns again aged 43. But favourite in
the 14,000-strong field is Tsegaye Mekonnen of Ethiopia, who has run 2:04:32, with a total of eight men with sub-2:08 PBs on the start line.

Also competing are 2:06 men Dawit Wolde, Bernard Kipyego, Martin Kosgey and Fikre Tefera.

“What we put into our body, is what will come out. So the training we have been doing means I have confidence the body is capable of going through half way in 62:30,” said Kiptoo.

On running well as a masters athlete, he added: “I am sure that the reason why I can run so fast these days is because I began late as a runner. It wasn’t until I was 28 that I realised I had talent.

“The key is that I don’t have any physical problems and have also been able to do good speed work sessions. Age is only a number.”

Around 14,000 runners are expected on the start line for the IAAF Gold Label race.

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