Eindhoven, The Netherlands - The words in the media guide of the Marathon Eindhoven should have acted as a warning as they described the Kenyan winner Jafred Chirchir Kipchumba as, “very talented but he has never found a very fast course.”
On Sunday, he found the roads around this Dutch city very much to his liking as and he proceeded to smash the course record and his personal best with an outstanding run of 2:05:48, which included a second half split of 1:02:35.
Prior to the Chicago Marathon to be contested later on Sunday Kipchumba produced the 10th fastest time in the world this year.
His victorious effort also made Eindhoven one of only five marathons in the world this year to have a winning time below two hours and six minutes. It was impressive as well for this event, the third largest Marathon in The Netherlands behind Rotterdam and Amsterdam, which will be contested next week.
Organisers created a new two loop course for the 28th edition of the event. More than twenty turns were left out and long straight strectches created and it was a success as a fast time was on the cards from the opening kilometres and 17 men, including the five designated pacemakers, went through 15km in 45:16 and then hit the the halfway point in 1:03:13.
As the leading runners started out on the second circuit around the Dutch city, the pace gradually quickened. With several of the pacemakers dropping out and a few of the expected protagonists struggling to keep up with the furious tempo, eight men remained in contention at 25km, which was passed in 1:14:29.
The leading group - which consisted of the Kenyan quartet of Chirchir Kipchumba,, Mike Kipyego, Julius Arile and Nathaniel Kipkosgei and Ethiopia's pre-race favourite Tadesse Tola.- was down to five when 30km was reached in 1:28.59
Kipchumba and Kipkosgei, who was brought to Eindhoven as a pacemaker, started to push hard at 33km and pulled away from their rivals, going through 35km in 1:43.58 with Tola four seconds adrift.
The pair continued to put more daylight between themselves and Tola before Kipchumba pushed again at 37km to leave his compatriot behind.
At 40km, Kipchumba had a 15 second advantage over Kipkosgei and extended it to 40 second by the line.
“I train with (the 2011 Boston Marathon winner and the fastest marathon man in the world) Geoffrey Mutai who won here in 2008 and 2009. He told me what a nice course it was in Eindhoven, how fast and flat it was," Kipchumba said.
“However, Mutai has been very strong in training so I thought I was only thinking about running 2:07. I was not confident I was going to run faster,” said the 28-year-old, who was enjoying the greatest day in his running career.
Kipkosgei finished second in 2:06:28, one of the fastest debuts in the history of the Marathon.
“Kipkosgei was a pacemaker but yesterday (Saturday) he came to us and said that he would like to finish the race. We said to that we didn't mind what he did but he had to pace the race to 34km, which was our agreement,” said race director Peer Pulles.
“In the end, I think it worked out well because Kipchumba had someone with him until 37km,” added Pulles, with the winner sitting beside him at the post-race press conference nodding in agreement.
Kipyego, the 2002 World Junior Championships 3000m Steeplechase gold medallist, overtook Tola for third place about 5km from home and crossed the line with a huge personal best of 2:06:48.
Georgina Rono made it a double Kenyan triumph in Eindhoven after she covered the last 10km on her own before crossing the line in a course record of 2:24:33. It also took more than six minutes off her personal best, set when she finished third at the Carpi Marathon last year.
“I relaxed in my mind at 38km because I knew I was going to finish in the top three but I only felt certain of victory in the last two kilometres,” reflected Rono after the race.
Ethiopia's Shitaye Bedaso finished second in a personal best of 2:25:09 while the local Dutch hero and pre-race favourite Hilda Kibet struggled in the final kilometres after being part of the leading group until 32km and finished fifth in 2:26:36. With this result the Dutchwoman qualified for next summer's Olympic Games in London.
1. Jafred Chirchir Kipchumba, KEN 2:05:48 PB, CR, previous 2:07:01 Geoffre Mutai (Ken) 2009
2. Nathaniel Kipkosgei, KEN 2:06:28 PB
3. Mike Kipyego, KEN 2:06:48 PB
4. Tadesse Tola, ETH 2:07:13
5. Charles Munyeki Kiama, KEN 2:08:04
6. Augustine Rono, KEN 2:08:05
7. Deribe Robi Melka, ETH 2:08:40 PB
8. Edwin Kutto, KEN 2:08:57 PB
9. Dadi Yama Gemeda, ETH 2:11:04
10. Julius Arile, KEN 2:12:33 Debut
11. Jairus Chanchima, KEN 2:12:33 Debut
12. Nahashon Kimaiyo, KEN 2:13:59
13. Fred Kosgei, KEN 2:14:37 Debut
14. Stanley Rono, KEN 2:16:15
15. Lander van Droogenbroeck, BEL 2:16:18 PB
16. Ghirma Woldu, BEL 2:17:57
17. Stijn Fincioen, BEL 2:17:57 correct PB
18. Florent Caelen, BEL 2:18:31 Debut
19. Willem van Schuerbeeck, BEL 2:20:25 PB
20. Harm Sengers, NED 2:21:59 PB
1. Georgina Rono, KEN 2:24:33 PB, CR, previous 2:25:35 Atsede Habtamu (Eth) 2010
2. Shitaye Bedaso, ETH 2:25:09 PB
3. Feyse Tadese Boru, ETH 2:25:20 PB
4. Rael Kiyara Kguriatuka, KEN 2:25:23 PB
5. Hilda Kibet, NED 2:26:36
6. Melkaw Gizaw, ETH 2:26:52 PB
7. Joyce Kandie, KEN 2:33:56
8. Viola Kimeto, KEN 2:45:16
9. Catherine Lallemand, BEL 2:47:20
10. Els Rens, BEL 2:47:22
11. Ann Parmentier, BEL 2:49:38
12. Kathleen de Cupere, BEL 2:51:55
13. Louise Deldicque, BEL 2:55:26
14. Ines van Rinsum, NED 3:00:07
Phil Minshull (organisers) and Wim van Hemert for the IAAF