Last year, the 2:05:46 winning time of the De Lage Landen Marathon Eindhoven was the ninth fastest in the world over a standard course, but race director Peer Pulles is looking to see his event improve further on Sunday (13).
His target for the 2013 race is for the Dutch city's course record to become even faster, and perhaps go below 2:05. Only six Marathons around the world can presently claim course records below that elite benchmark.
“After (Kenya’s) Dickson Chumba ran a course record of 2:05:46 last year, we have made further modifications to the course, especially in the closing stages of the race, and taken out eight corners,” said Pulles on Wednesday.
“In some parts of the course, the elite runners will be able to see two to three kilometres straight ahead of them, and we have not lost any of the local scenery and landmarks that makes the race so attractive to other participants.
“I haven’t discussed specific split times yet but provisionally I am expecting the pacemakers to reach the halfway point between 62:30 and 62:40,” added Pulles.
“We have contracted a group of 23 runners for this year’s race; realistically I only expect around half that number to be in the leading group at 21km, but I would hope that a few of those would then be able to come through in the second half of the race and produce a really fast time."
Negative split needed
“Dickson last year ran a great negative split after the leaders went through halfway in 62:57; he was on course for running under 2:05 at 40km (reached in 1:58:39) but tired over the final two kilometres. This year we hope that there is going to be someone who is stronger at the finish so we see a fantastic time.
“This year there will be pacemakers up to 32km to help the men at the front. I would be happy with just a course record but why not set our sights high? Last year’s race showed that a sub-2:05 time is a realistic possibility on this course,” he commented on a race which can currently boast of being the ninth fastest Marathon in the world on the basis of an average of the top 10 performances.
The two fastest men on the start line on Sunday will be Ethiopia’s Yemane Tsegay Adhane and Bazu Worku.
Adhane, 28, has a personal best of 2:04:48 set when winning the 2012 Rotterdam Marathon, while 23-year-old Worku has run 2:05:25 and has already won two Marathons on US soil this year, in Houston and Duluth.
Next fastest on times behind the leading pair are the Kenyan pair of Lawrence Kimaiyo, who won the 2012 Kosice Marathon in a personal best of 2:07:01, and Francis Kiprop, who won the Madrid Marathon earlier this year and has a best of 2:07:04.
The two other runners in Eindhoven with bests under 2:08 are Ethiopia’s Limenih Getachew and Teferi Kebede Balcha, who both have personal bests of 2:07:35, and there are also another five men who have run under 2:10.
“In addition, we also have a number of high-quality runners who will be making their debut at the Marathon. On paper, this is the best field that has stood on the start line in Eindhoven," said Pulles.
One of those debutants worth highlighting is Kenya’s Philip Langat, still only 23, who won the Half-marathon in nearby Breda last year in 1:01:05.
The weather conditions on Sunday could be ideal for fast times with the temperature forecast to be around 7 degrees Celsius at the start of the race, and cloudy with the possibility of some light rain during the morning.
Organisers for the IAAF