Kenya’s Wilson Chebet on Sunday won the TSC Amsterdam Marathon, improving on his second placing here last year by completing the course in two hours, five minutes and 53 seconds.
Chebet also won this year’s Rotterdam Marathon (2:05.57) and on Sunday, he led a clean Kenyan sweep that saw nine of the top 10 finishers coming from Kenya. Chebet was just nine seconds short of the course record registered last year.
Ethiopia’s Tiki Gelana won the women’s race in a course record 2:22.08 with Kenyan-born Dutchwoman Lornah Kiplagat qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics by running 2:25.52, inside the required qualifying time of 2:27.24, a result that also handed her the Dutch marathon title.
Wait for selectors’ decision
Despite the big victory, however, Chebet will have to wait for Athletics Kenya’s selectors’ decision to know whether he will make the London Games team.
“I don’t plan to run any marathon race before the Olympics. If they (AK) select me, then God is great,” said Chebet.
“I ran well and was feeling good until the 40km mark when I started having problems with my stomach and my feet felt the heat.”
Kiplagat said her confidence is back. “I am the happiest woman in Amsterdam and perhaps the whole world. I am pleased with how it went. The start was a little fast, but it felt good,” she said.
Michel Butter became the Dutch men’s champion in a personal best of 2.12.59. The race took place under ideal conditions as it was sunny and a bit chilly, a perfect marathon weather.
The leading group of 20 runners ran together in a fast tempo for a long time. They passed the 21.1 kilometres in 1.02.38, well on track to break Getu Feleke’s course record of 2010 (02.05.44).
After just over 35km Chebet took off and set a pace so high the rest of the field could not keep up. He however lost too much time in the last two kilometres, putting the record out of reach.
Six runners dip under 2.07
Kenyan debutant Laban Korir was second (02.06.05) and the pace maker from the leading group, Eric Ndiema, also a Kenyan, third in 02.06.07.
Remarkably, no fewer than six runners ran under 2.07. They included the Kenyan trio of Nicholas Manza (02.06.34), Elijah Keitany (02.06.53) and Paul Biwott (02.06.54).
These times confirm the fact that the TCS Amsterdam Marathon is one of the fastest in the world.
Leading results from the Amsterdam Marathon
Men (all Kenyan): 1.Wilson Chebet (2:05.53); 2.Laban Korir (2:06.05); 3.Eric Ndiema (2:06.07); 4.Nicholas Manza (2:06.34); 5.Elijah Keitany (2:06.53)
Women: 1.Tiki Gelana (Ethiopia, 2:22.08); 2.K. Eyerusalemu (Ethiopia, 2:24.55); 3.Lornah Kiplagat (Netherlands, 2:25.52), 4.Genet Getaneh (Ethiopia, 2:25.57), 5.Nailya Yulamanova (Russia, 2:26.39)