Solomon Busendich winning his marathon debut in Amsterdam (Race organisers) © Copyright
General News Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Strongest field ever to gather at Rotterdam Marathon on Sunday

  The 27th edition of the Fortis Marathon Rotterdam on Sunday (15) will feature its strongest and deepest field in its history.

While conditions are expected to be warm, the primary contenders don’t seem too bothered by the forecast.

Hiromi Ominami, the women’s favourite, said she had struggled between a start in Boston on Monday and competing in Rotterdam. “I am very happy to have chosen Rotterdam as I heard how bad the forecast is for Boston,” she said. The Japanese runner has trained for two weeks in The Netherlands at the National Sportcentre at Papendal near Arnhem. “I did that three years ago also. I am in a very good shape and I hope to better my personal best of 2:23:26 here.”

Rotterdam will have fifteen runners on the starting line who have covered the classic distance of 42.195 metres in under 2:09:00. The expectations are that a big group will cover the first half in 1:03 on the proven fast course, on which Sammy Korir ran the second fastest time of 2006 with 2:06:38. Korir was expected to start again this year but he had to withdraw due to a injury.

A strong pre-race favourite is Rodgers Rop of Kenya. Rop will be competing in The Netherlands for the second time within a month. On 11 March he finished fourth in the 20 kilometres of Alphen in 58:03. “That race was a part of my preparation,” he said. “After Alphen I went to Dettmold (Germany) to finish my preparation for Rotterdam. I hope we will work together in the group. After 30 kilometres you are on your own.”

His compatriot Jimmy Muindi knows the fast course in Rotterdam. He won the race two years ago in a personal best of 2:07:50. Muindi is known as ‘Mr. Honolulu’ due to his five victories there. “I am happy there is a big group of very good runners. They must know that I am not here to come home second.”

Charles Kibiwott, another Kenyan, also knows the course well. He ran his personal best of 2:06:52 in Rotterdam last year. “I could keep up then with Sammy Korir and Paul Kiprop Kirui until the final 200 metres, although I was plagued by pain in the back. In the sprint the pain bothered me very much.” But, he added, “Everything is okay now and I am in a very good shape.”

For Salim Kipsang, Dutch roads have no secrets as the Kenyan runs often in The Netherlands. Sunday will be his third start in Rotterdam. Kipsang, a soldier in the Kenyan army, got three months to prepare for this Marathon.

Solomon Bushendich, winner of last year’s ING Amsterdam Marathon in 2:08:52, did his final prep work in Iten, Kenya, and also knows Rotterdam very well. Last September he finished second at the Fortis Half Marathon Rotterdam in a PB 1:00:13. He ran the same time on 17 March of this year at the City-Pier-City Half Marathon at The Hague, finishing second to compatriot Sammy Wanjiru who bettered his World record to a still pending 58:35. Bushendich, who flew to Rotterdam during the day since he cannot sleep on planes, made his appearance a family affair. “Last year winner Sammy Korir brought his wife and kids to Rotterdam. I did the same this year.”

The weather conditions for Sunday are expected to be warm. At the 11 a.m. start time, the forecast calls for temperatures of 19 degrees Celsius, rising to 24 or 25 by  the afternoon. Organisers will place water sprinklers at the 25 and 38 kilometre points, and there will also be more drinking stations.

Wim van Hemert for the IAAF

The starting fields (with personal bests):
Men -
Benoit Zwierzchlewski (Fra)        2:06:36
William Kipsang           (Ken)       2:06:39
Wilson Onsare              (Ken)       2:06:47
Charles Kibiwott    (Ken)        2:06:52
Joshua Chelanga          (Ken)        2:07:05
Rodgers Rop                (Ken)        2:07:34
Patrick Mukutu   (Ken)         2:07:46
Jimmy Muindi   (Ken)         2:07:50
Joseph Ngolepus          (Ken)         2:07:57
Salim Kipsang              (Ken)        2:08:04
Daniel Yego                 (Ken)        2:08:16
David Mandago Kipkorir (Ken)    2:08:38    
Dejene Berhanu          (Eth)         2:08:46
Solomon Bushendich   (Ken)        2:08:52
Ambesse Tolosa           (Eth)         2:08:56
Thomas Kiplatan         (Ken)         2:10:03
Greg van Hest             (Ned)          2:10:05
Isaac Wanjohi Macharia (Ken)      2:10:09
Luc Krotwaar              (Ned)          2:10:13
Kamel Ziani                 (Esp)          2:10:18
Takayuki Matsumiya (Jpn)            2:10:20
Franklin Tenorio         (Ecu)          2:10:22
Francis Kiprop           (Ken)           2:10:40
Julius Surei Sugut      (Ken)           2:11:29
Terefe Yae                  (Eth)            2:12:07
Hugo van den Broek (Ned)            2:12:08  
Janne Holmen             (Fin)            2:12:10
Shane Nankervis        (Aus)            2:12:33
Jussi Utriainen          (Fin)             2:13:10
Clodoaldo da Silva   (Bra)             2:13:12
Simon Munyutu        (Fra)             2:14:42
Koen Raymaekers     (Ned)            2:15:50
Luke Kipkosgei       (Ken)             2:19:20 (1:01:18 at The Hague half  marathon March 17th 2007)
Martin Lauret          (Ned)            2:20:49
Ignacio Caceres     (Esp)              debut
Pedro Nimo            (Esp)             debut

Women -
Hiromi Ominami     (Jpn)       2:23:26
Alevtina Biktimirova (Rus)    2:25:12
Malgorzata Sobanska (Pol)   2:26:08
Adaneck Zekiros     (Eth)       2:27:38
Martha Tenorio       (Ecu)      2:27:58
Nadja Wijenberg     (Ned)      2:28:45
Ana Dias                  (Por)      2:28:49
Dulce Maria de la Cruz Rodriguez (Mex) 2:28:54
Helena Kiprop Loshanyang (Ken) 2:28:51
Mulu Seboka  (Eth)  2:30:41
Martha Komu           (Ken)    2:32:45
Rebecca Moore      (NZl)     2:36:31
Atseda Bayesa         (Eth)     2:37:48
Florence Chepkurui (Ken)    debut