Amsterdam, The Netherlands Fast times are expcted in the Amsterdam Marathon, which celebrates its 35th edition this Sunday (17).
The weather forecast for the event, which is starting in the 1928 Olympic Stadium is promising. The expected temperature in sunny, nearly windless weather, will be between 12 and 14 degrees Celsius. With 31,500 entrants over several distances (10,241 marathon and 13,437 half marathon) Amsterdam is the biggest running event in the low countries.
The Amsterdam Marathon is an IAAF Silver Label Road Race.
Of the nine starters on Sunday with PBs under 2:10:00 Chala Dechase of Ethiopia is the fastest man on the starting line with a personal best of 2:06:33. The 26-year-old African, who set his personal best in Dubai last January finishing second to compatriot Haile Gebrselassie, was full of confidence at the pre-race press conference Friday morning.
“I know Amsterdam has a very fast course,” said Dechase. “I finished second here two years ago with 2:08:33. I have trained very well and I hope to break 2:06:00.”
If Dechase does clock a sub 2:06:00 he will break the course record which was set by Kenyan Gilbert Yegon last year with 2:06:18.
Jackson Kotut of Kenyan is also prepared for a time under 2:06:00. The 22-year-old East African, with a personal best of 2:07:30 from winning this year’s Barcelona marathon, toldthe media today, “I’m very well prepared. I trained three and a half months very hard for this marathon and I am feeling I am in a very good shape. I think, when the weather is OK I can do around 2:06:00.”
A dark horse in the race is 25-year-old Wilson Chebet of Kenya. Chebet who is running his first marathon has had four sub one hour half marathons under his belt, two in 2009 and two in 2008 seasons. His best in 2010 is 60:31.
“I know the full marathon distance is something else than a half marathon. I trained very hard but in another way for the distance. I do not run races so very often and I feel fresh. I would have made my marathon debut earlier but I wanted to wait. I feel the time is right now.”
In the women’s field there are six athletes who have sub 2:27:27 personal bests. The fastest of the group is Robe Guta. The Ethiopian woman who celebrated her 24th birthday three days ago is an experienced runner having fifteen marathons under her belt with a personal best of 2:24:36.
Guta’s strongest opposition will come from the Kenyans Martha Komu, Rose Cheruiyot, Julia Mombi and Alice Timbilil and Ethiopian compatriot Eyerusalem Kuma who is the defending champion having won the Amsterdam Marathon last year in 2:27:43.
The Amsterdam women’s course record is held by Gete Wami of Ethiopia with a time of 2:22:19 (2002).
Wim van Hemert for the IAAF
The fastest starters in Amsterdam are:
2:06:33 Chala Dechase ETH
2:07:30 Jackson Kotut KEN
2:07:53 Shdrack Kiplagat KEN
2:08:04 Getu Feleke ETH
2:08:58 Daniel Kosgei KEN
2:09:00 Francis Kibiwott KEN
2:09:01 Samson Barmao KEN
2:09:01 Hailu Mekonnen ETH
2:09:32 Mesfin Ademasu ETH
2:24:35 Robe Guta ETH
2:25:33 Martha Komu KEN
2:25:48 Rose Cheruiyot KEN
2:26:00 Julia Mombi KEN
2:26:45 Alice Timbilil KEN
2:26:51 Eyerusalem Kuma ETH