Catherine Debrunner makes marvellous debut at Berlin Marathon

Marcel Hug takes seventh triumph in the German capital with a dominant performance to complete a Swiss sweep in the wheelchair races 26 Sep 2022
Three female wheelchair racers in the podium of the Berlin Marathon
Winner Catherine Debrunner (centre) between second-place Manuela Schaer (left) and third-place Susannah Scaroni in Berlin
ⒸSCC EVENTS/Jean-Marc Wiesner
By World Para Athletics

The 2022 Berlin Marathon saw a winning debut for Switzerland’s Catherine Debrunner in the women’s wheelchair race on Sunday (25 September) in the German capital.

Debrunner was neck and neck with fellow Swiss Manuela Schaer, who was eyeing a sixth-consecutive Berlin win, and USA’s Scaroni, but the result came down to a final sprint between the three.

The 27-year-old proved strongest, crossing the finish line in 1:36:47. Schaer was second in 1:36:50, and Scaroni right behind in 1:36:51. 

A track specialist and Paralympic champion in the women’s 400m T53 at Tokyo 2020, Debrunner surprised herself with her debut.

"It was an incredibly great day for me, competing on the road is something completely different than on the track. You have to be much more attentive," said the new champion.

The women’s wheelchair race was much tighter than the men’s event which also had a Swiss winner. Marcel Hug picked his seventh victory in the Berlin Marathon with a dominant performance in 1:24:56. 

USA’s Daniel Romanchuk finished in second place (1:28.54) with Great Britain’s David Weir in third (1:29.02).

London next

The trio paced a leading pack for much of the first 10km before the man the Silver Bullet made his move.

"In the first kilometers we ran a very tactical race," said Hug. "At kilometre nine, I decided to take the lead for good. At the end I just concentrated on myself and kept the pace really high."

The 36-year-old had previously won in Berlin in 2011, 2012, 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2021.

The 2022 edition was also marked by a world record in the men’s able-bodied race with Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge beating his own best time by half a minute to finish in 2:01:09. 

Kipchoge was at times even on course for a dream time of under 2:00:00 which would make him the first ambulant athlete to run a marathon below the 2-hour mark. Ethiopia’s Tigist Assefa was the winner in the women’s race (2:34:01).

The next World Marathon Major takes place in London, Great Britain on Sunday (2 October).