Rotterdam, NetherlandsKenyan William Kiplagat
and Olivera Jevtic of Serbia and Montenegro were respectively the men’s and women’s winners of the Fortis Rotterdam Marathon today.
In his tenth attempt on the marathon distance Kenyan William Kiplagat tasted victory. Winning in 2:07:42, the 30-year-old African ‘yo-yoed’ his nearest opponents, compatriot Josephat Kiprono (2:07:53) and the Spaniard Jose Manuel Martinez (2:08:08), to defeat.
This 'yo-yo' comment came from his opponents and referred to three moments in the race, when Kiplagat, who debuted five years ago at Rotterdam (2:17:14), had tried to break away.
Kiplagat first accelerated at around the 31 kilometre point in the race, but after only some twenty metres was reeled back into the pack by the seven men who had previously been with him in the lead - Stephen Cheptot, Fred Kiprop, Ernest Kipyego, John Gwako, Kiprono, pacemaker Matthew Sigei (all Kenya) and Martinez - the counter attack having been led by Kiprono, who was the winner in Rotterdam two years ago (2:06:50).
But around 35 kms, on a part of the course where the light wind made the runners feel the rather high temperatures for marathon running (17 degrees), Kiplagat attacked again. The result being that as they entered the Kralingse Bos (Kralingen Wood) the leading group broke up, with Sigei and Cheptot falling back.
Again Kiplagat’s move was not decisive, and though the lead group was further whittled down to only three runners just prior to 40kms - Kiplagat, Kiprono and the very strong looking Spaniard Martinez, who finished third in his first marathon last year - his second moment on the loose had also failed to finally shake off his opponents.
Behind this trio, Moroccan Gharib Jaouad and Asdhebir Demissie of Ethiopia were making a late run but they could never reach the leaders.
With just 2.5 kilomtres left Martinez was the next to wane, as the brisk 40km pace (2.01.16), which set the race on course for a time of under 2:07:00 was not an illusion.
At 41 kilometres, Kiplagat launched his third try to break away, and this time the physical and psychological string by which his opponents had wound him back under control on the two previous occasions finally broke, as the attack was too much for Kiprono’s own reserves of strength.
“At that moment I felt I could win the race,” said Kiplagat. “I was well prepared and I wanted to run a good time after I had made wrong choices in picking my marathons. I’m very happy with my victory.”
Josephat Kiprono, who was at the same school as Kiplagat when the two were kids said: “I know William has a final kick. I could not follow the last time he went away.”
Jose Manuel Martinez, the European 10,000 metres champion was very happy with his third place. “This was only my second marathon. Last year, I was also third here (2.09.55) and now again. I like Rotterdam and will be back here next year.”
Over a minute behind Martinez, four men crossed the finish line within seventeen seconds, with Gharib Jaouad (MOR), the World Half marathon silver medallist taking an impressive sixth place. Kamiel Maase became the first Dutchman to finish in 2.10.28 and so became national champion.
In the women’s race it looked as Hiromi Ominami would take the victory to Japan, like her twin sister Takami did last year. Until 35 kilometres (2:00:00), the Japanese runner was leading with around 15 seconds in hand over Olivera Jevtic from Serbia and Montenegro.
However, in final seven kilometres Ominami faded a away (“...I lost a lot of energy”) and Jevtic came closer with every step. She finally passed Ominami and at 40kms was nearly half a minute in front, and was never again threatened, clocking a new personal best of 2:25:23.
Anne van Schuppen (42 years old) finished fifth in 2:35:52, so becoming Dutch champion.
Wim van Hemert for the IAAF
1. William Kiplagat (Ken) 2:07:42
2. Jospehat Kiprono (Ken) 2:07:53
3. Jose Manuel Martinez (Esp) 2:08:08
4. Fred Kiprop (Ken) 2:09:14
5. Ashebir Demissie (Eth) 2:09:14
6. Gharib Jaouad (Mor) 2:09:15
7..Stephen Cheptop (Ken) 2:09:31
8. Matthew Sigei (Ken) 2:10:04
9. Mark Saina (Ken) 2:10:13
10. Ernest Kipyego (Ken) 2:10:14
11. Kamiel Maase (Ned) 2:10:28
12. Tefere Wodajo (Eth) 2:12:53
1. Olivera Jevtic (Serbia and Montenegro) 2:25:23
2. Hiromi Ominami (Jap) 2:26:17
3. Maria Teresa Pulido (Esp) 2.31:56
4. Lena Gavelin (Swe) 2:33:25
5. Anne van Schuppen (Ned) 2:35:52
6. Debbie Robinson (Gbr) 2:38:29
7. Vivian Rijters (Ned) 2:39:22