Irina Mikitenko Wins Avon Running Berlin Women’s Race and Plans Debut in Marathon

By Jörg Wenig

The big favorite took hold sovereign: Irina Mikitenko won the 23rd Avon Running Berlin Women’s race. The 33 year-old who finished seventh in the Olympic 5,000 meters in Athens 2004, ran the 10 kilometers in 33:45 minutes. She had a winning margin of exactly one minute to Claudia Dreher (34:45). Third was Magdaline Chemjor (Kenya) in 35:18. Mikitenko then announced that she is planning to run her marathon debut this fall.

11,731 women and girls were cheered on by thousands of spectators during the biggest German women’s fitness event. Besides 4,869 runners at the 10K race, 6,243 women participated in the 5K race and 619 children ran at the 800m Bambini race. „This Avon Running Berlin Women’s race was fun again. And it had a great atmosphere,” said Race-Director Mark Milde and added: „We are happy to have another prominent German winner with Irina Mikitenko.”

The elite 10K race was a one woman show in Berlin’s Tiergarten: Irina Mikitenko ran her own pace from the beginning of the race and took the lead immediately. Irina, who has been the best German runner at international competitions in the past years, had quickly opened a big gap to Claudia Dreher. „I wanted to win, my time was secondary. If I would have had a harder competition here, I would have been able to run faster,” said Irina Mikitenko, who waved to the spectators on the last stretch.

She wants to continue her previous success which was on the track. But now the roads are in the centre of the focus. Mikitenko gave birth to her second child last year. At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens she had finished seventh in the 5,000m race. Four years earlier she finished even fifth at the same distance in the Olympics. The multiple German long distance record holder placed fourth at the World Championships in 1999 and fifth in 2001 at 5,000m. At the 10,000m Irina Mikitenko, who is born in Kazakhstan, had her first success as a German as she finished eighths in the European Championships.

Now the marathon is the next goal for Irina Mikitenko. „A couple of years ago I had great respect for the distance. But now I am ready for the marathon. I hope to run my debut in Germany this fall. But I don’t know yet where it will be,” said Irina Mikitenko and added: „This is due to how my training is going to be. I need enough time for preparation, because I want to run sub 2:30 hours.” The 33 year-old definitely has the potential to run faster than 2:30. Her next step will be the 10,000m at the upcoming European Championships in August.