43rd Tartu Maraton was won by Eldar Rönning and Tatjana Mannima


A big favorite and quadruple world champion Eldar Rönning won the 43rd Tartu Maraton held today, outperforming his compatriot Audun Laugaland just before the finish line. Among women, Tatjana Mannima won after a 10 year break.

“Wonderful race, very good track and organization - I even could say it may be better than Vasaloppet,” approved Rönnind the Tartu Maraton. “Probably, I even have not raced on such good track for 63 km. I definitely recommend to everyone in Norway to come to Tartu Maraton.”

Rönning’s winning time was one of the fastest in the last years - 2:43:41. Audun Laugaland finished with 2:43:57 and third place winner, Martti Himma, with a time 2:48:41.

Almost half of the race, a six-man group was leading - Norwegians Eldar Rönning, Martin Hammer, Audun Laugaland, Estonians Algo Kärp, Martti Himma and Belarusian Aleksei Ivanov. Before the Palu Service Point (15 km until finish), Rönning and Laugaland speeded up and settled the winner’s destiny in the last kilometer.

“I tried to tire Eldar with a long spurt, but I had no luck. In the last kilometer, he outraced me,” said Laugaland, who finished second.

The third place owner’s destiny was decided by Himma, Kärp and Hammer but just before the finish line, there was no match to Himma and after 2006, he again stood on Tartu Maraton’s podium. “For me, it was a victory. I am very proud over the third place,” said Himma.

Due to unsuccessful ski choice, one of the predicted favorites, Algo Kärp, had to admit the defeat. “Honestly, I’m very disapointed in my today’s performance. The most deciding moment was before the start. I chose the classic style of cross-country skis, and compared with other men, I had too much traction,” said Kärp.

The first woman to finish was Tatjana Mannima from Estonia who also won La Transjurassienne marathon in France last week.

“It was critical to choose the correct skis today. I am very thankful for the waxers who helped me to make the right choice,” said Mannima who now also became the leader of the FIS Marathon Cup. “Winning the FIS Marathon Cup is my main goal this year”.

Mannima outracad second woman Antonella Confortolat from Italy with almost five minutes and third woman, Triin Ojaste, with seven minutes.

6370 skiers started the 43rd Tartu Maraton today, 4994 of them to the longer distance - 63 km - and 1374 to the shorter distance - 31 km.

Photo: Tarmo Haud