Geoffrey Mutai gave Eindhoven a memorable present for its 25th edition: a new course record of 2:07:50.
Five days after his 27th birthday, the Kenyan also gave himself a present by bettering his personal best (2:12:36) by nearly five minutes. His nearest opponents, compatriots Philip Manyim and Joseph Ngeny Kiprotich, were more than one-and-a-half minutes back with 2:09:31 and 2:09:33 respectively.
Lydia Kurgat produced a double Kenyan success by winning the women's race in 2:33:39, also a personal best.
Mutai impressed in the last part of the race. In the final kilometres he was informed that he was over twenty seconds behind the corse record, which Philip Singoei set last year with 2:07:57. Singoei who started for a third consecutive victory in this southern Dutch city did not finish (24 kms) just as another pre-race favourite Dimitri Baranovski of Ukrain, who left the course after about 25 kms.
A large group set out for a rather fast pace running 14:48 through five kilometres, and later passed 10 km in 30:11. The group of ten passed the 15 km marker in 45:37 and went on to twenty kilometres in 1:01:40. At halfway Mutai was still not with the leading group, which passed that 21.1 km point in 1:04:19, running nine seconds behind.
At 25 km (1:16:16) Mutai was with the leading group which consisted of Manyim, Kiprotich, Raymond Kandie, Simon Njoroge Kariuki, Francis Bowen, Sammy Chumba, David Maiyo Chirchir, Henry Kipkiay Kimeli and Sammy Kibet, all from Kenya. At 30 km there were seven leaders, who passed in 1:31:07. From that point on the leading group broke. Mutai and Manyim passed 35 km together in 1:46:18 with the others falling back. At 36 kms Mutai pressed the pace again and he left the struggling Manyim.
Mutai, who made a very strong impression went on, passing 40 km in 2:01:40 and then pressed on for the course record. In the final kilometre, seeing the course record within reach, he accelerated again. He finally lopped seven seconds from Singoei's year-old mark.
"I did not start fast," Murai said. "I started to move to the leaders between halfway and 25 km. The moment I reached the leading group I knew I was doing well on this fast course. I was feeling fine and could increase my speed in the final phase of the race. I'm very happy with my time and the course record."
Said Kurgat, the women's winner: "I wanted to run aroud 2:30 but I'm very happy with winning in a personal best of 2:33:39."
Compatriot Christine Chepkonga was leading the race until the 35th kilometer, more two minutes ahead of her opponent. Chepkonga however broke down dramatically over the waning stages. She held on for second in 2:37:04, still a personal best.
The race in Eindhoven, where the weather circumstances were nearly ideal (13-15 degrees C, overcast and nearly no wind), also counted as the Dutch championships. Greg van Hest took the men's title in 2:15:38 (15th overall). 44-year-old Nadja Wijenberg was the fastest Dutchwomen, finishing fourth in 2:42:24. It was her fifth national Marathon title.
Wim van Hemert for the IAAF
Leading Results -
1. Geoffret Mutai, Ken 2:07:50 PB, course record *
2. Philip Manyim, Ken 2:09:31
3. Joseph Ngeny Kiprotich, Ken 2:09:33
4. Raymond Kandie, Ken 2:10:47 PB
5. Simon Njoroge Kariuki, Ken 2:11:15
6. Raymond Kimutai Bett, Ken 2:11:57 PB
7. Francis Bowen, Ken 2:12:04
8. Sammy Chumba, Ken 2:12:11
9. Sammy Kibet, Ken 2:12:26
10. Marc Tanui, Ken 2:13:02 PB
11. Luka Kiptoo, Ken 2:13:03 PB
12. Deressa Chimsa Edae, Eth 2:13:04
13. David Maiyo Chirchir, Ken 2:14:08
14. Elias Maindi, Ken 2:15:27
15. Greg van Hest, Ned 2:15:38 National champion
16. Henry Kapkiay Kimeli, Ken 2.15.43
17. Daniel Kosgei, Ken 2:16:22 PB
18. Eric Gerome, Bel 2:17:15
19. Joel Rono, Ken 2:17:25
20. Hans Janssens, Bel 2:17:36
21. Guy Fays, Bel 2:19:22
22. Erik Sanders, Ned 2:19:37
23. Dmitri Dubovskia, Rus 2:20:00
* previous, Philip Singoei (Ken), 2:07:57, 2007
1. Lydia Kurgat, Ken 2:33:39 PB
2. Christine Chepkonga, Ken 2:37:04 PB
3. Alemitu Bekele, Bel 2:40:58
4. Nadja Wijenberg, Ned 2:42:24 National champion
5. Anja Smolders, Bel 2:43:06
6. Ingrid Prigge, Ned 2:44:25
7. Virginie Vandroogenbroeck, Bel 2:45:05
8. Marlies Jungerius, Ned 2:47:51