Setting a new course record of 2:05:49 William Kipsang fulfilled the wish that the Rotterdam organisers had before the start of today’s 28th edition of the Fortis Rotterdam Marathon: a course record.
The 31-year-old Kenyan bettered the fastest time ever run in Rotterdam by compatriot Felix Limo (2:06:14 in 2004) by 25 seconds.
The women's race was won by Lyubov Morgunova of Russia in a personal best of 2:25:12. Behind Kipsang compatriots Daniel Rono (2:06:58) and 2001 World 10,000m champion Charles Kamathi (2:07:33), respectively finished second and third in personal best times.
Kipsang was over a minute ahead of his nearest opponents and Morgunova was over two minutes in front of Ethiopian Zekiros Adanech (2:27:32) and nearly four ahead of Spanish Alessandra Aguilar (2:29:03), who was running her first marathon. Adanech also set a personal best time.
In ninth place in the men’s race, Finland’s Janne Holmen, the 2002 European champion, brought home a national record of 2:10:46 bettering Jukka Toivola's 25-year-old time of 2:11:35 set when finishing 10th in the New York Marathon on 1983.
Last year the Fortis Rotterdam Marathon was hampered by extreme heat. This time the conditions were ideal for a marathon running with a light wind and a temperature of 12 degrees CT. In the extreme conditions of 2007 William Kipsang finished third in Rotterdam in 2:11:04, and half a year later the East African had set a personal best of 2:06:39 in Amsterdam.
The Fortis Rotterdam Marathon is an IAAF Silver Label Road Race.
A large group of 22 runners including the pacemakers went off at a very fast pace of 14:57 for the first five kilometres. At 10kms it was still very fast with a 29:45 clocking by the leaders.
By 15kms the head group was formed by Kipsang, Rono, Kamathi, Richard Limo, Paul Kirui, Benjamin Maiyo and Daniel Yego, who passed that point in 44:35.
By half way the seven leaders were still together passing the half marathon markers in 59:31, and this group stayed together till 25km (1:14:31).
In the Kralinger Wood after passing the 30kms marker in 1:29:41 the group broke up after Kipsang made his second try at a breakway, and by 35kms Kipsang was seven seconds ahead of his opponents and along the Kralingen Lake he carried on in the same energetic style. Behind him Kamathi, Rono and Limo formed the chasing pack as Kirui and Yego had by then been dropped.
By 40kms Kipsang was 40 seconds ahead of his nearest follower, Rono, and he was now pressing the pace cheered on by tens of thousands of spectators who were willing him to break the 2:06:00 barrier, which he finally succeeded in doing in 2:05:49.
“I am very happy with this victory,” said William Kipsang. “Last year I was third and now I’m the winner and I felt fine.”
“After 28 kilometres I tried already to break away but they came back to me. Some kilometres further on in the wood (Kralinger Wood) I succeeded in going away and now they did not come back. This is a great victory especially because I broke the 2:06:00.''
Runner-up Daniel Rono said, “I am happy especially as I had some problems with my legs. After 30 kilometres, the already high pace went up again and it was difficult for me but I could hold on and finish second. In the wood, Kipsang was awfully strong, running a kilometre in 2:49.''
Lyubov Morgunova came back from behind in the last twelve kilometres of the women's race to take victory.
The 37-year-old Russian runner was 19 seconds behind Ethiopian Zekiros Adanech at the 25kms point in the race. However, only five kilometres further on and the two runners were together, and in the following five kilometres the experienced Russian left her opponent behind, gaining a lead of over two minutes by 40kms.
“I am very happy with my personal best,” said Lyubov Morgunova. “Although I was behind at half way I felt I could do it. And I did it. In the final phase of the race I felt very strong.''
Wim Van Hemert for the IAAF
1. William Kipsang (Ken) 2:05:49 PB
(CR old 2:06:14, Felix Limo, Ken 2004)
splits 14:57-29:46-44:35-59:31-1:02:54- 1:14:31-1:29:41-1:244:28-1:59:24)
2. Daniel Rono (Ken) 2:06:58 PB
3. Charles Kamathi (Ken) 2:07:33 PB
4. Richard Limo (Ken) 2:08:43
5. Paul Kirui (Ken) 2:09:46
6. Tom van Hooste (Bel) 2:10:38 PB
7. Daniel Yego (Ken) 2:10:41
8. Benjamin Maiyo (Ken) 2:10:44
9. Janne Holmen (Fin) 2:10:46 FIN rec
10. Driss el Himer (Fra) 2:12:08
11. Ignacio Caceres (Esp) 2:12:44 PB
12. Jose Telez de Souza (Bra) 2:13:09
13. Justin Young (USA) 2:13:54 PB
1. Lyubov (Morgunova (Rus) 2:25:12 PB
2. Zekeros Adanech (Eth) 2:27:32 PB
3. Alessandra Aguilar (Esp) 2:29:03 PB
4. Alice Chelagat (Ken) 2:30:18 PB
5. Ines Monteiro (Por) 2:30:36 PB
6. Yesenia Centeno (Esp) 2:33:01 PB
7. Viktorya Trushenko (Rus) 2:33:50
8. Shiru Deriba (Eth) 2:37:11