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Press Release - Mainova Frankfurt Marathon:

Philipp Kopp makes seamless transition as Frankfurt’s success story for Elite Racing continues

The best ever combined winners’ times for the 40th edition of the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon on Sunday marked a seamless continuation from the highest quality results for the elite runners in pre-Corona days. The achievements of the Kenyan Brimin Misoi with his time of 2:04:53 and Buzunesh Gudeta of Ethiopia running 2:19:27 when they crossed the finish line in Frankfurt’s Festhalle provided an aggregate time of 4:24:20, by a considerable margin the fastest in the history of Germany’s oldest city marathon. The next edition will be on October 27 next year.

Quite apart from the difficulties caused by the pandemic, it was anything but a matter of course that the elite results would turn out to be so impressive, given the unfavourable weather conditions. Spring of this year marked the death of the man who had led the development of the elite field to world-class standard over two decades: Christoph Kopp.

His son Philipp took over in the role of elite co-ordinator, working with Sandra Wolter, who had already had the role of Christoph Kopp’s “Right Hand” in Frankfurt since 2003.

A few years ago that did not seem to be a straightforward matter. “At the time I really did ask myself, what are we going to do when one day Christoph is no longer available? We never really found a proper answer. I then joked saying to Christoph we will stop simultaneously,” reflected Frankfurt’s race director Jo Schindler. “So I’m delighted that, following the loss of Christoph, we’ve had a seamless and successful transition.” Together with Sandra Wolter, Philipp Kopp continue the work of their father’s company, International Sports Service (ISS) in Berlin.

Philipp Kopp grew up with the sport of athletics. Even at the age of two-and-a-half, he was a spectator at the 1995 Boston Marathon – and ran ahead through the passport check at the USA border control. “Philipp sat on my lap at the age of five,” remembered Jo Schindler.

He had been working for his father at the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon since 2007 and subsequently studied Sports Management. A key development was his trip to Kenya in 2019. “I went to Jean Paul Fourier in Iten and had many conversations with athletes. Patrick Makau also helped me a lot to gather contacts so that I began to manage leading Kenyan runners,” said Philipp Kopp, whose aim is to develop the professionalization of the business still further. Among his athletes are Kenya’s World Half Marathon bronze medallist Samwel Mailu, the Ethiopian World Cross Country silver medallist Tsigie Gebreselama, the European silver medallist in the women’s marathon, Matea Parlov Kostro of Croatia and the German record holder for the men’s marathon, Amanal Petros.

Apart from athlete management, working as elite field co-ordinators for a series of races is a core part of the business for Philipp Kopp and Sandra Wolter. On that front there is the prospect of a further addition to their portfolio in a new event planned for May next year: the Gutenberg Half Marathon will take place in Mainz on May 5 where Jo Schindler has taken over as race director. 

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