Under a white and blue sky, Richard Ringer savored the greatest moment of his career with his eyes closed and listened intently to the national anthem. His golden final sprint in the marathon should give the German athletics team the hoped-for boost for the home European Championships in Munich.

With the first European championship title for a German marathon runner and before that the team victory for the German women on the longest running distance, the hosts in Munich made a dream start. In addition, there was silver for the men’s team on Monday, in the individual race Amanal Petros and Miriam Dattke finished fourth in fascinating races, just missing further medals.

“Incredible – I wanted to perform in 2018 and I dropped out for the first time. And now I’m European champion,” said the 33-year-old wrestler, who dropped out over 10,000 meters at the European Championships in Berlin four years ago. The veteran from Rehlingen had announced that he wanted to make things up and kept his word.

Petros, who was actually considered a co-favourite, was not surprised that the wrestler, who had fallen behind in the meantime, rushed past Maru Teferi from Israel 50 meters from the finish line at Munich’s Odeonsplatz and still won in 2:10:21 hours. “He originally comes from middle-distance. He did great, I’m proud of him,” said Petros. The runner, who was born in Eritra, ran out of breath in the last meters, so it was only enough for fourth place, 18 seconds behind Ringer. That didn’t bother Petros: “I’m super, super satisfied. That’s how we won silver. It started very well for Germany.”

Ringer also emphasized the team spirit and mutual motivation. So Petros asked him after 25 kilometers how he was doing. Ultimately, only Israel ended up in the team ahead of the Germans. In addition, in warm but not too hot temperatures at lunchtime, Ringer not only helped the ice under his cap, which he threw away on the long home straight before igniting the turbo. He saw getting used to such weather through his training in America as a crucial factor. “Heat wave? Yes, wearing long pants is okay,” said Ringer, grinning, as he acclimatized.

The German women were also allowed to celebrate together on the podium, although Miriam Dattke in 2:28:52 hours only had to concede bronze to Nienke Brinkman from the Netherlands at the same time. Nevertheless, the 24-year-old, who is running for Regensburg, said: “For me, fourth place is a dream, I didn’t expect it.” Aleksandra Lisowska from Poland won the first title at this European Championship in 2:28:36 hours. Silver went to Matea Parlov Kostro from Croatia.

German champion Domenika Mayer in sixth and Deborah Schöneborn in tenth ensured that the German team won the team classification. Rabea Schöneborn in 12th and Katharina Steinruck in 15th completed the excellent team result.

Three weeks after the end of the World Championships in the USA with only two medals, the German Athletics Association was also very happy about the strong start to the European Championships. “You can tell what experience is for a deposit,” said head national coach Annett Stein about Ringer, who was already third at the EM over 5000 meters in 2016. “The team medals in the marathon are also outstanding, we are all very, very happy,” added Stein.