Defending champion Koen Naert 8th in European marathon

Koen Naert has taken 8th place in the men's marathon at the European Championships in Munich. A disappointment, since the defending champion had clearly hoped for more. The women's race had two positive surprises with Hanne Verbruggen en Mieke Gorissen.   

Koen Naert had his moment of glory in 2018 when he was crowned European champion in Berlin. Could Germany bring him a new triumph? Naert did what he could, but was never in contention for a medal in the final part of the race. 

"I didn't come here to take 8th place, but there were 7 others who were better. The race was very hard with the pace changing all the time. But I did what I could, I have nothing to reproach myself," said Naert. "The weather could have been more extreme for me. 5 degrees more would have been nice, I am better compared to other athletes in extreme conditions." 

The German Richard Ringer took the Gold after a fantastic final sprint, snatching victory from Israel's Maru Teferi. 

In the women's race, Hanne Verbruggen surprised with 8th place. School teacher Mieke Gorissen claimed 13th spot. Both were delighted with their result. Verbruggen is 29 years and wants to quit her job for a certain time to focus 100% on her running career in the next few years. "I can start having children afterwards." 

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