Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Running in nearly ideal conditions, Wilson Chebet of Kenya and Ethiopian Tiki Gelana cruised to victories at the 36th TCS Amsterdam Marathon on a sunny, nearly windless Sunday (16).
Chebet won this IAAF Silver Label Road Race in 2:05:53 with the next five all cross the finish line in under 2:07. While the 26-year-old, who finished second last year in the Dutch capital, missed the course record set in 2010 by Ethiopian Getu Feleke (2:05:44) by a mere nine seconds, Gelana shaved 11 seconds off the course record set by compatriot Gete Wami nine years ago.
It is known that road courses in the flat Low Countries are very fast. The Amsterdam course is certainly among them. Under the nearly ideal weather circumstances a large group in the men's race went out very fast, with splits of 14:56 and 29:27 for the opening five and ten kilometres.
At the 20 kilometres marker (59:22) the leading group still consisted of 16 runners, including the pacesetters. Among the leaders was also Sileshi Sihine, the Ethiopian track star who was making his debut over the distance. But dropping out after 36 kilometres, he failed to reach the finish line in Amsterdam’s historic 1928 Olympic Stadium of Amsterdam.
The compact leading group, with the eventual winner Chebet mainly in command, was reduced to eight at 35 kilometres: Chebet, pacesetters Eric Ndiema and Nicholas Manza, Paul Biwott, John Kiprotich, Laban Korir, and Elijah Keitany, all from Kenya, and Eritrean Samuel Tsegay.
The two pacemakers forged on with Chebet, who broke the group in the last five kilometres. At this point Chebet, who started as favourite, opened a gap and was never in danger after that. Ndiema tried to follow Chebet but was instead overtaken by Korir in final kilometre and had to settle for third place. Korir clocked 2:06:05 ahead of Ndiema’s 2:06:07, a personal best for the former and the fastest ever performance by a junior for Ndiema, who won’t turn 19 until 28 December. Theirs’ were just two of several career bests that would fall on the quick Amsterdam course.
Chebet, who won the Rotterdam Marathon in April with his personal best of 2:05:27, was very happy with his victory.
"I knew I was in a very good shape and I am very proud of this victory. The second in my career and again in The Netherlands. I love the courses in this country," he said.
Until the halfway point, the women's race was a four-woman affair with Ethiopians Gelan, Eyerusalem Kuma and Genet Getaneh along with Kenyan Peninah Arusei. Behind them 37-year-old Dutchwoman Lornah Kiplagat ran a clever race, with just one goal in mind: breaking the Dutch qualification standard for the London Olympics next year.
Meanwhile, Gelana, Kuma and Getaneh stayed together until 30 kilometres. Just beyond that marker Gelana upped the pace and ran on alone. She eventually finished three minutes of of Kuma, the Amsterdam winner last year, 2:22:08 to 2:24:55.
Kiplagat finished third in 2:25:52. well inside the Dutch Olympic women's limit of 2:27:24.
“I am the happiest woman in Amsterdam, and perhaps the whole world,” Kiplagat said.
Wim van Hemert for the IAAF
1. Wilson Chebet, KEN 2:05:53
2. Laban Korir, KEN 2:06:05 PB
3. Eric Ndiema, KEN 2:06:07 PB
4. Nicholas Manza, KEN 2:06:34 PB
5. Elijah Keitany, KEN 2:06:53
6. Paul Biwott, KEN 2:06:54 PB
7. John Kiprotich, KEN 2:07:08 PB
8. Samuel Tsegay, ERI 2:07:28 PB
9. Joseph Biwott, KEN 2:09:40 PB
10. Evans Kiplagat, KEN 2:10:42
11. Michael Shelley, AUS 2:11:23 PB
12. Abdelhadi El Hachimi, MAR 2:11:30 PB
13. Tesfaldet Berhane, ERI 2:12:22 PB
14. Daniel Chepyegon, UGA 2:12:37
15. Michel Butter, NED 2:12:59 PB Dutch champion
16. Luis Feitera, POR 2:13:12
17. Paulo Roberto Paulo, BRA 2:13:15 PB
18. Mark Kennneally, IRL 2:13:55 PB
19. Patrick Stitzinger, NED 2:15:20 (2nd Dutch Championships)
20. Alberto Chaica, POR 2:15:22
21. Phil Wicks, GBR 2:15:38 PB
22. Manuel Hurtado, ESP 2:16:02 PB
23. Olfert Molenhuis, NED 2:16:20 PB (3rd Dutch championships)
24. Habtamu Fikadu, ETH 2:16:47 PB
25. Clinton Perret, AUS 2:17:28 PB
26. Yossef Gezachw, ISR 2:18:59 PB
27. Shadrack Kosgei, KEN 2:19:09
28. Dimitris Theodorakakos, GRE 2:19:20 PB
29. Gary Thornton, IRL 2:19:29 PB
30. Ronald Schroer, NED 2:20:55
DNF - Sileshi Sihine, ETH and Koen Raymaekers, NED
1. Tiki Gelana, ETH 2:22:08 PB, CR, previous 2:22:19 Gete Wami, KEN, 2002
(splits: 17:13-34:01- 50:46-1:07:49-1:11:34-1:24:41-1:41:28-1:58:15-2:14:52)
2. Eyerusalem Kuma, ETH 2:24:55 PB
3. Lornah Kiplagat, NED 2:25:52 Dutch champion
4. Genet Getaneh, ETH 2:25:57 PB
5. Nailya Yulamanova, RUS 2:26:39
6. Peninah Arusei, KEN 2:28:38
7. Veata Niagambo, NAM 2:32:12
8. Natalya Volgina, RUS 2:35:10
9. Heleen Plaatzer, NED 2:35:23 PB 2nd Dutch champion ships
10. Miriam van Reijen, NED 2:42:05