Poland’s Aleksandra Lisowska claimed the first title at the European championships, winning the women’s marathon on the streets of Munich yesterday.
The 31-year-old Pole clocked 2hr 28min 36sec, Croatia’s Matea Parlov Kostro taking silver, at 7sec, with Nienke Brinkman of the Netherlands claiming bronze, a further 10sec adrift.
The men’s marathon title went the way of host nation Germany as Richard Ringer produced an extraordinarily well-judged final burst past Ethiopian-born Israeli Maru Teferi for gold.
Ringer dug deep in front of thousands of onlookers to time 2:10.21, with Teferi taking silver, 2sec behind, and another Ethiopian-born Israeli, Gashau Ayale, claiming bronze a further 6sec adrift.
“Although this is an individual event, the great motivation was the team because we were going for a team medal and the chances were good to get one,” Ringer said. “I would have never thought that this team spirit could be so strong and help so much, like at the 35K or 37K, with all the pain you feel. Every marathon is a surprise, now I am the champion of Europe. I started as a 5K runner, this is why I finished strong.”
The opening day of the athletics championships had opened in dramatic style as world decathlon champion Kevin Mayer’s bid for a first European title came to a shuddering halt as he pulled up in the opening 100m.
World record holder Mayer, twice world champion and a two-time Olympic silver medallist, had warned that he would withdraw from the gruelling two-day event should he feel even the slightest pain. And so it proved as the Frenchman took the foot off the pedal after 70 metres of the 100m, the first of 10 events at Munich’s Olympic Stadium.
“I did a decathlon three weeks ago,” he said in reference to his world title-winning effort in Eugene, Oregon, dubbing his bid to add the continental title to his haul as a “mission impossible”.
“I pulled up before injury. I had a hundredth of a second to decide: carry on and I injure myself, or I stop. It’s very hard,” he added. “I gave myself every chance to have a great time again because, regardless of the fears and stress it could generate, on the track I have so much fun!
“I wanted to give myself a chance to get there, I didn’t succeed, it doesn’t matter: I’m world champion, my season has been a success, which was unexpected given my injuries.”
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