15 OCT 2004 General News Amsterdam

Strongest field ever assembled at the ING Amsterdam marathon

Bernard Barmasai (KEN) (Getty Images)Bernard Barmasai (KEN) (Getty Images) © Copyright

William Kipsang who won the ING Amsterdam marathon last  year in a course record of 2:06:39 will defend his title this coming Sunday in the 29th edition of the event in the capital of The Netherlands.

The 27-year-old Kenyan should have started in the La Salle Chicago marathon last Sunday but did not get a visa to enter the United States.

“I was disappointed I could not start at Chicago,” Kipsang told through compatriot Titus Munyi. “I was lucky I could switch over to Amsterdam. I was in a very good form for Chicago and I’m still feeling fine. I hope to better my personal best I ran in Amsterdam last year. It is a nice and fast course here.”

Kipsang may have the course record of the ING Amsterdam Marathon but he is not the fastest in the field which the organizers announced as the strongest ever in the history of Amsterdam.

Munyi fastest man in the field

The fastest man in the field is the already named Titus Munyi. The 24-year-old always smiling East African has a personal best of 2:06:15. He ran that time at last year’s Berlin marathon in the race where his compatriots Paul Tergat and  Sammy Korir excelled.

Tergat ran a new World record of 2:04:55, Korir was one second slower. Munyi has only two marathons on his record. He was announced for Berlin 2004 but a knee injury prevented a second start in the German capital.

“The injury is over and I'm looking forward to this marathon,” Munyi, who is training in the same group as Paul Tergat, said.

With Josephat Kiiprono there should have been a third Kenyan under 2:07:00 on the starting line in the 1928 Olympic Stadium. Kiprono however withdrew from the race on Thursday as he was not feeling well.

Benjamin Kimutai Koskei knows the course in Amsterdam very well. He won the marathon two years ago (2:07:26) and finished third last year in 2:07:39.

“It is my third time at Amsterdam and I know it will be rather difficult to finish in the top three this year.”

Rodgers Rop is another outstanding name in the field. The 28-year-old Kenyan, who made his international running debut several years ago in the City-Pier-City half marathon at The Hague, is making his first marathon start in an European country. In 2002 he won the Boston as well as the New York marathon.

Barmasai to run second marathon of his career

Former 3000 metres Steeplechase World record holder Bernard Barmasai is running his second marathon ever at Amsterdam. On the 4th of April this year he ran for the first time the 42.195 km event in the Fortis Rotterdam marathon.

Barmasai then clocked 2:14:49 but hopes now to be at least over six minutes faster.

Due to limited funds the women’s field is not as strong. Emily Kimura (KEN, 2:28:02) and Helena Javornik (SLO, 2:28:13) are the only women under 2:30:00.  The course record of 2:22:19 set by Ethiopian Gete Wami in 2002 should not be threatened.

The marathon will start at 11.00 hrs. The weather forecast is a temperature between 7 and 13 degrees CT, sunny but chances of rain and wind.
 
Other notable men in the starting list include

Peter Chebet  (Ken)  PB  2:08:43
Henry Tarus    (Ken)  2:10:08
Khalid Boumilili (Mar) 2:10:49
Hassan el Lahssini (Fra) 2:11:01
Robert Cheboror (Ken) 2:11:06
Francisco Bautista (Mex) 2:11:44
Wilfred Kigen (Ken) 2:11:48
Salim Kipsang (Ken)   2:14:55
Hugo van de Broek (Ned) 2:14:59

Wim van Hemert for the IAAF