Patrick Makau Musyoki and Lydia Cheromei were the winners of the 5th edition of the Fortis Half Marathon Rotterdam on Sunday (14). The event is an IAAF Silver Label Road Race.
The men's race was a thriller till the end, Makau Musyoki outsprinting compatriot Evans Cheruiyot both clocking the same time of 59:29, while the women's race was a solo one for Lydia Cheromei. The 31-year-old had no opponents finishing in a new course record of 68:35. The old course best was also set by Cheromei when she won the first edition of the event on 12 September 2004 in 69:13. It was also a personal best for her. The fast Rotterdam course brought six men under the hour!
From the start there was a large leading group in the men's race. On the proven fast course the first five kilometres went by in 14:06. Along the river Maas the group had the wind in the face. This big group stayed together and passed the ten kilometres marker in 28:13, just one second slower as the first five kilometres.
Just after 10kms Joseph Maregu pressed the pace and the leading group started to spread out. Around 13 kilometres Makau Musyoki, who till then had been hidden in the group went up to the front leading the head group of 14 runners.
After passing the turning point on the two lap course for the second time Wilson Chebet, a late entrant, upped the pace, and 12 men passed the 15 kms point in 42:41/42:42. This group then lost the very impressive looking Tanzanian Dickson Marwa Mkami, who tripped and fell (finished 11th).
Back to the Coolsingel in the centre of Rotterdam with the wind on their backs the pace increased with the leading group finally breaking down to just five, Makau Musyoki, Evans Cheruiyot, Chebet, Paul Kosgei and Charles Munyeki, who were in contention for the victory.
In the last two kilometres first Munyeaki fell back and then Kosgei also did. On the final stretch on the Coolsingel, Chebet lost contact, and so we were left with the same scenario as last year as Evans Cheruiyot and Patrick Makau Musyoki engaged in a sprint for victory.
Last year Cheruiyot won in 59:12 setting the course record with Musyoki seven seconds back but this year there was not much difference by the finish both clocking the same time: 59:29.
For the 23-year-old Makau Musyoki it was his fifth victory in a half marathon and the second in The Netherlands this year. Earlier he won in Ras al Khaimah, Reading, The Hague (Fortis City-Pier-City) and Berlin.
“I was very confident in winning this race'', the winner said afterwards. “I waited long in the group. I knew this was my day.'' Evans Cheruiyot was very happy afterwards. “I'm two months in training now because I was injured. I'm still not 100 percent. But I wanted to run Rotterdam again.''
Lydia Cheromei was for several years inactive but is back in business.
“I am very happy with my personal best and bettering my own course record."
Cheromei was happy with the pacemakers she had. The Kenyan athlete had impressive splits on 5k, 10k and 15k with respectively 15:48, 31:57 and 48:43.
Dutchwomen Ilse Pol and Miranda Boonstra finished second and third both in personal best times.
Wim van Hemert for the IAAF
1. Patrick Makau Musyoki Ken 59:29
2. Evans Cheruiyot Ken 59:29 (correct)
3. Wilson Chebet Ken 59:33 PB
4. Paul Kosgei Ken 59:37
5. Charles Munyoki Ken 59:44
6. Joseph Maregu Ken 59:52
7. Abebe Dinkesa Eth 60:03 PB
8. Dieudonne Disi Rwa 60:06
9. Raji Assefa Eth 60:07 PB
10. Jonathan Maiyo Ken 60:12
11. Dickson Marwa Mkami Tan 60:20
12. Daniel Rono Ken 60:27 PB
13. James Mwangi Ken 60:34 PB
14. Moses Arusei Ken 61:31 PB debute
15. Samuel Karanja Ken 62:06
16. Francis Kibiwott Ken 62:14
17. James Rotich Ken 62:19 PB
18. Eshetu Wondimu Eth 62:22
19. Richard Limo Ken 62.23 PB
20. Martin Lauret Ned 65:57
1. Lydia Cheromei Ken 68:35 PB course record, old Lydia Cherome 69:13 Sept. 12th 2004
2. Ilse Pol Ned 74:17 PB
3. Miranda Boonstra Ned 74:23 PB
4. Nadja Wijenberg Ned 74:39
5. Jolanda Verstraten Ned 76:31 PB
6. Saskia van Vugt Ned 77:46
7. Miriam van Rijen Ned 77:48