The Amsterdam Marathon organisers got what they were hoping for today (17) with the 35th edition achieving a new course record thanks to a personal best clocking of 2:05:44 by winner Getu Feleke.
The 23-year-old Ethiopian bettered the previous best time set last year by Gilbert Yegon of Kenya by 34 seconds.
The women’s race was was won by Alice Timbilil of Kenya in 2:25:03.
The Amsterdam Marathon is an IAAF Silver Label Road Race
The weather conditions were nearly ideal. At the start in sunny, windless weather the temperature was around 6 degrees Celsius going up to 10 by the finish.
A large group of around twenty athletes set out at a rather fast pace with splits of 14:57 (5km), 29:43 (10km) and 44:39 (15km). Under the guidance of Moroccan pacemaker Jamal Baligha the 20 kilonetres marker was passed in 59:42.
The start of a significant break took place around halfway (1:03:05) by the 21.1km marker when the leading group consisted of ten runners: Getu Feleke, his Ethiopian compatriots Chala Dechase, Cherkos Feleke, Hailu Mekonnen, Bekanan Daba, and the Kenyans Wilson Chebet, Shadrack Kiplagat, Daniel Kosgei, Jackson Kotut, Thomas Chemitei.
The pace stayed high (25km in 1:14:43) but there were signs that some runners had trouble following that speed, and there were major changes in the leading group between 30km (1:29:43) and 35km (1:44:46) with just five left, the two Felekes, Chebet, Dechase and Mekonnen, by the latter point.
Around 36km, Getu Feleke start pressing the pace and the only one who could follow was marathon debutant Chebet. In a very nice style the Ethiopian went on strongly and at 40 kms (1:59:12) he was fifteen seconds ahead of Chebet.
The Kenyan knowing that his opponent was no longer in reach consolidated his own race and finished second in 2:06:12, the second fastest marathon debut ever.
After the race Getu Feleke who closed out in 2:05:44 was smiling broadly. “First I have to thank my trainer Getaneh Tessema. I felt strong and after passing the 35 kilometres marker I was sure I should win.”
Chebet was also smiling. "This is great making your debut with the second fastest (such time) ever. I’m happy. I know now what a marathon is and I think I can do faster. The weather was excellent.”
In the women’s race, Kenyan Alice Timbilil was from the beginning in the leading group. There were five leaders at 30kms (1:43:57), Timbilil and four Ethiopian women, Eyerusalem Kuma, the winner last year in Amsterdam, Robe Guta, Woinshet Girma and Shitaye Bedaso.
At the next marker (35km, 2:10:04) Timbilil was alone. She went on strongly and finished with a personal best of 2:25:03 which was over two minutes ahead of her nearest rival Eyerusalem Kuma (2:27:01).
“I felt very strong around 33 kilometres and I knew I could win this race,” said the 27-year-old Timbilil who was the World Youth champion over 3000m in 1999 and who in 2005 took a World Cross Country silver medal over 8km.
Wim van Hemert for the IAAF
1. Getu Feleke ETH 2:05:44 PB, course record
2. Wilson Chebet KEN 2:06:12 debut
3. Chala Dechase ETH 2:07:23
4. Cherkos Feleke ETH 2:07:29 debut
5. Hailu Mekonnen ETH 2:07:37 PB
6. Shadrack Kiplagat KEN 2:07:56
7. Daniel Kosgei KEN 2:08:45 PB
8. Jackson Kotut KEN 2:08:59
1. Alice Timbilil KEN 2:25:03 PB
2. Eyerusalem Kuma ETH 2:27:04
3. Robe Guta ETH 2:27:44
4. Woinshet Girma ETH 2:27:51
5. Shitaye Bedaso ETH 2:29:48 debut
6. Miranda Boonstra NED 2:34:24 PB
7. Juli Mombi KEN 2:34:37
8. Ayelech Worku ETH 2:35:09