Legendary final sprint at home EM: Ringer sprints historic marathon gold

Legendary final sprint at home EM
Ringer sprints for historic marathon gold

Huge surprise at the marathon of the European Athletics Championships in Munich: Richard Ringer flies to the gold medal in phenomenal sprinter style on the long home straight. It is the first German medal in the marathon for 36 years.

Under a white and blue sky, Richard Ringer savored the greatest moment of his career with his eyes closed and listened intently to the national anthem. His golden final sprint in the marathon should give the German athletics team the hoped-for boost for the home European Championships in Munich.

With the first European championship title for a German marathon runner and before that the team victory for the German women on the longest running distance, the hosts in Munich made a dream start. The last German medal in the marathon was a long time ago: Herbert Steffny won bronze in Stuttgart in 1986. In addition, there was silver for the men’s team, in the individual race Amanal Petros and Miriam Dattke finished fourth in a fascinating race, just missing out on further medals.

“Incredible – I wanted to perform in 2018 and got out for the first time. And now I’m European champion,” said the 33-year-old wrestler, who got out over 10,000 meters at the European Championships in Berlin four years ago. The veteran from Rehlingen had announced that he wanted to make things up – and kept his word.

Petros, who was actually considered one of the favourites, was not surprised that the wrestler, who had fallen behind in the meantime, rushed past Maru Teferi from Israel 50 meters from the finish line at Munich’s Odeonsplatz and still won in 2:10:21 hours. “He originally comes from the middle distance. He did a great job, I’m proud of him,” said Petros. The runner, who was born in Eritrea, ran out of breath in the last meters, so it was only enough for fourth place, 18 seconds behind Ringer. That didn’t bother Petros: “I’m super, super happy. That’s how we won silver. It started very well for Germany.”

“Yeah, long pants are okay”

Ringer also emphasized the team spirit and mutual motivation. So Petros asked him after 25 kilometers how he was doing. Ultimately, only Israel ended up in the team ahead of the Germans. In addition, in warm but not too hot temperatures at lunchtime, Ringer not only helped the ice under his cap, which he threw away on the long home straight before igniting the turbo. He saw getting used to such weather through his training in America as a crucial factor. “Heat wave? Yeah, long pants are okay,” Ringer said, grinning, acclimatizing.

Three weeks after the end of the World Championships in the USA with only two medals, the German Athletics Association was also very happy about the strong start to the European Championships. “You can tell what experience is for a deposit,” said head national coach Annett Stein about Ringer, who was third in the EM over 5000 meters in 2016. “The team medals in the marathon are also outstanding, we are all very, very happy,” added Stein.

Association President Jürgen Kessing explained that exactly what had been wished for and hoped for had happened. “I assume that the spark was ignited within the team and that it spread to the audience. That was a good start today and it can continue like that.” The mood along the circuit through downtown Munich, which had to be completed four times, inspired everyone.

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