Athletics: Historic victory leads to induction honour

ACHIEVEMENT: Germany's Uta Pippig and Ballarat's Steve Moneghetti at their induction into the Berlin Marathon Hall of Fame. Picture: Fran Seton
ACHIEVEMENT: Germany's Uta Pippig and Ballarat's Steve Moneghetti at their induction into the Berlin Marathon Hall of Fame. Picture: Fran Seton

Twenty-seven years after Steve Moneghetti ran past the Brandenburg Gate on his way to winning the Berlin Marathon in record time, the Ballarat long-distance runner has returned to the spot as a hall of fame inductee. 

Moneghetti and retired German long-distance runner Uta Pippig, who were the male and female winners of the race in 1990, had the dual honour of opening the Berlin Marathon Hall of Fame and being recognised as its inaugural inductees.

The four-time Olympian and Commonwealth Games marathon gold medallist won the marathon with the fastest time in the world that year, a time of two hours, eight minutes and 16 seconds.

Moneghetti’s performance also marked the first time the race was run under 2.10, a race which is now recognised as one of the fastest in the world with 10 world records having been set.

The current record was set by Kenyan athlete Dennis Kimetto in 2014 with a time of 2:02:57. 

Race director of the 1990 Berlin Marathon, Horst Milde, welcomed Moneghetti back to the city.  

“The 17th Berlin Marathon was an athletic international sensation three days prior to German unification,” Milde said at the opening.

“East and West Berlin had been divided for 28 years and that year’s race was the first time a marathon could lead through both parts of the city again.” 

“(Moneghetti’s) victory and world best was the icing on the cake for the Berlin Marathon with 25,000 runners from 61 countries.

“It was the breakthrough for Berlin as a world class event, which now proudly boasts 10 world records.

“(Moneghetti’s) victory was a historic event for Berlin and for him.”

Moneghetti said he was excited and emotional to be back in Berlin for the first time since that race. 

“It is fantastic to have watched from afar over the past 27 years just how much this event has grown in every respect, from participation rates to world records and taking its rightful place as one of the world marathon majors,” Moneghetti said.

This year’s event kicks off on Sunday where three of the fastest marathon runners in the world, Kenyan runners Eliud Kipchoge and Wilson Kipsang, and Ethiopian runner Kenenisa Bekele, could be making records of their own.

Ballarat will again have a showing in the Berlin Marathon, with the Running Company’s Julian Spence and Brianne Hook among the athletes that have travelled overseas to take part in the 44th edition of the event.

Spence won his third consecutive 44km men’s Great Ocean Road marathon in May after taking guidance from Moneghetti to improve his performances. 

Meanwhile, Moneghetti is focused on his role of Commonwealth Games Chef de Mission, with the games taking place on the Gold Coast next year.