Nadja Wijenberg (NED) (AFP/Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Enschede, The Netherlands

Wijenberg misses Athens mark but Tola breaks Enschede record

  In its 36th edition the Enschede marathon in eastern Holland finally got a new men's race record after fifteen years of waiting, while a Dutch victory in the women's race unfortunately did not pass Athens muster.


The race at Enschede is the oldest in Holland. On July 12th 1947 the city, which has a close bond with the Kosice Marathon, held its first race over 42.195 metres. Until 1991 the marathon was organised on a bi-annually basis but ever since it has been held yearly.

Several years ago the name of the marathon was changed to Twente marathon as Twente is the area of Holland where Enschede is situated but two years ago the organisers came back to the old name Enschede marathon.

Although it was the 36th edition there have only been 35 runnings of the race. The organisers also count 2000. In that year, a week before the marathon there was a big explosion in a local fireworks factory in which died 22 persons and a lot of houses were demolished, and of course the race was cancelled then.

New course

This year the start and finish of the marathon was situated in the new centre of the town and run on a new, attractive course. It first went from the heart of the city of Enschede to the nearby city of Gronau in Germany, and then back for about twelve kilometres after which it followed for 30 kilometres around and through Enschede.

The new course, lined by tens of thousand spectators in nice sunny weather (18 degrees CT and nearly no wind) also brought a new event record.

Victory for Tola but pacemaker did not concede race until late

Ethiopian Girma Tola clocked 2:10:33 in his first ever marathon. Local hero Marti ten Kate had set the old record in 1989 although on a different and more difficult course. 

The first 10 kms went by in a rather fast 30.36 with a group of eight at the front: the Kenyan pacemakers Luke Kibet, Cleophas Rop and Stanley Keesio Kibet, followed by Tola, and Linus Ngetich, James Kipketer, Philip Cheruiyot and Mengich Jacob (all Kenyans).

After 15 kms (46.08) the group broke up, and by 19 kms it was just Tola running together with the three pacemakers. 

At halfway (1.04.35) it was down to a two man affair with Tola and Luke Kibet, who as a pacemaker was only contracted to run until 30 kms.

After 25 kms (1.16.10) the pace increased and with kilometres splits between 3.00 and 3.04, they passed 30kms in 1.31.16.

At that point everybody was expecting that Kibet would drop out as planned but the swift moving Kenyan however (second the Berlin 25 kms last week) decided to continue.

By 34 kilometres Kibet was even running alone, as Tola had lost ground and was around 80 metres back.

However, not long after Kibet had gestured he wanted to stay in the race and it seemed he could win, the physical reality that the marathon only really starts after 35 kms hit home! Suddenly Kibet could not keep his fine rythym and Tola who was keeping his own found himself overtaking Kibet, and went on to win in 2:10:33.

Kibet finished second 40 seconds back.

Eighteen year old Degene Nigussie of Ethiopia made an impressive debut finishing third in 2.13.53.

Wijenberg misses Athens mark in women's race

Nadja Wijenberg of Holland won the women's race in 2:31:22. The Russian born athlete (Ilyina), Dutch champion of 2004 (Rotterdam 4 April) did her best to break the Dutch Olympic qualification standard of 2:30:00. 

Wijenberg, who turned 40 on 2 April, was eighth in this spring's Rotterdam Marathon (2:38:39) and had won the Athens International Marathon which was run on the Olympic course (2:43:16) last November (see photo above).

"I was over seven minutes faster than at Rotterdam six weeks ago but I missed the qualification standard. No second Olympic Games for me after Sydney. A pity. It went well till 35 kms but from that moment on I was alone,'' said Wijenberg who as a personal best of 2:28:45 from when winning the 1999 Eindhoven Marathon.

Nineteen year old Tigist Abidi, could only follow Wijenberg till 30kms but then lost ground. She finished second in 2.38.00.

1. Girma Tola (Eth) 2:10:33 debut
(old record - 2:10:57 Marti ten Kate (Ned) August 25th 1989)
2. Luke Kibet (Ken) 2:11:13 (debut)
3. Degene Nigussie (Eth) 2:13:53 (debut)  
4. Teferi Bacha (Eth) 2:14:09 (debut)
5. Jackson Kipchumba (Ken) 2:15:37
6. Abiyote Guta (Eth)  2:15:56  (debut)
7. James Kipketer (Ken) 2:16:14
8. Mengich Jacob (Ken) 2:18:24
9. Linus Ngetich (Ken) 2:21:13
10. Philip Cheruiyot (Ken)  2:21:38

1. Nadja Wijenberg (Ned) 2:31:23 misses olympic qualification standard of 2:30:00 (40+)
2. Tigist Abidi (Eth) 2:38:00 (debut) YOB 1985
3. Petra Kaminkova (Cze) 2:41:12
4. Jane Rotich (Ken) 2:47:00
Half marathon

1. Ingrid Prigge (Ned)1.18.17

10 kms
1.Beatrice Misoi (Ken)    35.41

1. Luc Krotwaar (Ned)  30.44