The second edition of the Fortis Half Marathon Rotterdam promises to be an exceptionally high quality race on Sunday 11 September, and could be a good form guide ahead of the 14th IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Edmonton, Canada (1 October), entries for which close on 19 September.
With the Kenyans Wilson Kiprotich, Rodgers Rop, Luke Kibet, Patrick Ivuti and Samuel Wanjiru entered, the Rotterdam organisers have announced five runners who have run the Hlaf marathon distance in under sixty minutes.
Samuel Wanjiru is officially the fastest man of the year 2005. The young East-African, who will become 19 years of age on 10 November, clocked 59:43 at Sendai (Japan) on 10 July, though faster unofficial times have been clocked this year on a slightly downhill (69m) course in Lisbon, Portugal.
One of those Lisbon times was set by Wilson Kiprotich (13 March - 59:27), while also in the Portuguese capital Rodgers Rop and Luke Kibet clocked respectively 59:49 and 60:00. Kiprotich’s official PB is 60:11 which he clocked in the famous Stramilano Half Marathon on 10 April this year. In the same race John Yuda Msuri (Tan) finished second in 60:25. Kiprotich and Yuda are second and third behind Wanjiru on the world list for the Half Marathon this year.
Patrick Ivuti is the fifth sub-60 minutes runner at Rotterdam with a time of 59:45. The 27-year-old Kenyan won the 2001 Stramilano race (60:42), and two years later he also came home second (61:14) in the same race.
On 12 September last year in Rotterdam, Robert K. Cheruiyot (KEN) became the fastest half marathoner in the world of 2004. In windy conditions he clocked 60:11 on the fast two loop course, which like the full Rotterdam Marathon starts and finishes on the Coolsingel in the heart of Rotterdam. The time of Cheruiyot last year made an international impression and therefore the interest of runners from all over the world is great in this year’s second running of the Fortis Half Marathon Rotterdam.
Also, lining up for the Half Marathon on 11 September will be Jimmy Muindi the surprise winner of the 25th Fortis Rotterdam marathon this spring (2:07:50), and joining him will be another famopus marathon name, Sammy Korir, the second fastest man ever for the marathon (2:04:56).
The women’s field is not as strong as the men’s line-up. Rotterdam is very happy to see Kenyan Tegla Loroupe again. The Kenyan “lady” won the Rotterdam Marathon in 1997 and 1998, in the second year with a World best of 2:20:47. She is also a three-time winner of the World Half marathon title (1997, 98, 99).
Japan sends two women: Miho Notagashira (pb 70:25) and Ayoko Suzuki (pb 70:47), while Kutre Dulecha of Ethiopia, who ran a personal best of 70:54 in the City-Pier-City Half Marathon at The Hague (March 19th) is also on the women’s start list.
Wim Van Hemert for the IAAF