An athlete's superiority can be demonstrated by being faster and more enduring than everyone else.

And it can be seen in the fact that while the competitors sink to the ground exhausted, he happily encourages the spectators to wave La Ola and dances with a life-size squirrel with a green hunter's hat on Munich's Odeonsplatz.

Richard Ringer proved his inexhaustible stamina with both on Monday at the start of the European Athletics Championships.

He surprisingly became European champion in the marathon.

Michael Reinsch

Correspondent for sports in Berlin.

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The first German marathon European champion on Ascension Day, who had allowed thousands upon thousands of spectators to surround the ten-kilometer circuit in downtown Munich and the other attractions of the European Championships, did not amaze with his winning time of 2:10:21 hours, but with his long sprint.

When everything looked like his teammate Amanal Petros would fight for the title with the Israeli Maru Teferi, a few hundred meters from the finish after 42.195 kilometers, the 33-year-old wrestler was just getting going.

Ringer suffers from tendinitis

First he shot past Petros, who had encouraged him 15 kilometers earlier, but who suddenly lost his strength and fought his way to the finish line in fourth.

Then he sprinted down Leopoldstrasse and, with giant strides, catapulted himself past Teferi to the finish.

"Now you're trying everything," the runner from Rehlingen described his thoughts: "Everything hurts anyway."

Behind Teferi, two seconds later than the wrestler, Gashau Ayale, also of Israel, was third (2:10:29).

In the team ranking, Ringer, Petros and Johannes Motschmann, who came 16th in 2:14:52 hours, came in second.

"This was a team competition, as a team we wanted a medal," said Ringer. "What comes out for the individual starter is an encore."

The bonus in gold is all the more remarkable as Ringer does his marathon training with reduced running units and alternative training.

He suffers from tendinitis in his foot.

Five weeks ago, he revealed, he gave up running completely for a week, but did 22 hours of endurance training in swimming and aqua jogging, on the cross trainer and on the bike. In June, only 47 percent of his training consisted of running – “and I'm still here now."

The Munich run was only Ringers' fourth marathon - "and everyone hurt," he said.

In 2018, the athlete from Lake Constance won the World Cup over 10,000 meters while still on the track.

He started in Tokyo to gain experience for Paris 2024;

he finished 16th.

For running and training, he has reduced his work as a controller at Rolls-Royce.

Ladies win team ranking

In the women's race, which started one hour before the men's race on Monday morning at 10:30 a.m., 24-year-old Miriam Dattke held the lead for a long time.

She finally finished fourth in a hard-fought race in 2:28:52.

Poland's Aleksandra Lisowska won in 2:28:36 ahead of Croatia's Matea Parlov Kostro and Dutch Nienke Brinkman (both 2:28:42).

"I felt how everyone was hoping that I'd make it and yelled at me from the bottom of their hearts," enthused Miriam Dattke of her finale.

"It hurts and at the same time you think you can bite, but then it hurts.

It's an inner struggle," she said, describing her remarkable finale.

"But I was just over it.

There wasn't much more to do.” She was still very satisfied.

Because together with the German champion Domenika Mayer in sixth place (2:29:21) and Deborah Schöneborn in tenth place (2:30:35), she won the team ranking calculated for the first time at the European Championships.

With two gold and one silver medals, the German team led the medal rankings at the European Championships before the competitions on Monday evening and surpassed their result from the World Championships in Eugene (Oregon) - long jumper Malaika Mihambo winning the title and third place in the women's sprint relay .

The six German starters were all awarded medals at the award ceremony.

One can only wish for the German Athletics Association, which has been in a storm of criticism since its expedition to the title fights in America, that team rankings will be introduced in other disciplines of athletics and that the remarkable breadth of this sport will pay off.

Rabea Schöneborn was in twelfth place, as was Katharina Steinruck, who was in 15th place despite a foot injury, and was part of the excellent European champion team.

For the men, Hendrik Pfeiffer (2:16:04) and Konstantin Wedel (2:16:09) completed the team in 24th and 25th place.

Simon Boch finished 50th in 2:21:39 hours.

The marathon started at lunchtime despite protests from a large number of participants.

The temperatures didn't rise to thirty degrees.

The medical committee of the European Athletics Federation decided at the weekend that the weather forecast would allow the run to take place at noon and thus attract more spectators than would have been expected in the morning.

Munich showed itself from its best side with the circuit, which passed the Siegestor four times, via Marienplatz, Viktualienmarkt, Gärtnerplatz, through the Isartor, past the Eisbachwelle, the Friedensengel and through the Englischer Garten.

Like the German runners.