Zersenay Tadesse won the third Fortis Half Marathon Rotterdam equalling the course record and former World record of 59:16 set by Samuel Wanjiru of Kenya a year ago.
On a sunny day (20 degrees CT) and a light wind the race resulted in a two men’s affair with Tadesse and Kenyan Robert Kipchumba. Rotterdam had a star studded field with five runners who had run the half distance in one hour or within.
Eritrean Tadesse said Friday during the pre race press conference that he had asked the pacemakers for a very fast first ten kilometres of 27:45. But Ibrahim Jeilian Gashu (ERI) and Wilson Kiplagat (KEN) could not bring that pace.
A group of fifteen covered the first 5000 metres against the light headwind in 14:02. Around seven kilometres Tadesse felt the pace was too slow. He pressed the pace and a group of three, Tadesse, Kipchumba and another Kenyan runner Martin Lel passed the 10km marker in 27:55, ten seconds slower than the 23-year-old Tadesse had asked.
With Lel slowing down and falling back it became a two men affair. The couple passed the 15km point in 42:07. The two started looking at each other and the pace went down.
“I did not know how strong Kipchumba was,” Tadesse said after the race. “It became a tactical race and I knew I could not run within 59:00 minutes as I wanted."
In the final three kilometers, Tadesse pressed the pace again covering those three 1000 metres in respectively 2:44, 2:43 and 2:42. In the beginning Kipchumba could follow but at the 20km marker, where Tadesse was clocked in 56:17 the 22-year-old Kenyan was four seconds back.
The Eritrean went on, finally finishing twelve seconds ahead of his nearest opponent.
Solomon Busendich, a runner who is carefully picking his races, was coming up in the final phase of the race, taking third place and bettering his personal best from 1:00:42 (Berlin last April) to 1:00:14.
There was also a personal best for Benson Barus, who finished fourth in 1:00:17. With nine runners within 1.02:00 Rotterdam had a very deep finishing field, the best in the world this year.
Mara Yamaughi was a lonely winner in the women’s race. The runner from Great Britain, who lives in Tokyo and was the pre-race favourite, was leading from the gun winning in 1:10:38. At 10km (32:47) she was already 55 seconds ahead of her nearest opponent.
Mindaye Gishu, the Ethiopian winners of the 9th April Fortis Marathon Rotterdam Marathon, ran most of the race together with Japanese Aya Manome but proved to be stronger in the last kilometres, clocking 1:12:26 for second place. Manome came home third in1:12:50.
Over 4000 runners took part in the half marathon.
1. Zersenay Tadesse (Eri) 59:16 equals course record Samuel Wanjiru (Ken) 2005
(splittimes: 14:02 - 27:55 - 42:07 - 56:17)
2. Robert Kipchumba (Ken) 59:28
(splittimes: 14:02 - 27:55 - 42:07 - 56:21)
3.Solomon Busendich (Ken) 1:00:13
4.Benson Barus (Ken) 1:00:17
5.Luke Kibet (Ken) 1:00:43
6.Emmanuel Mutai (Ken) 1:00:49
7.Wilfred Taragon (Ken) 1:01:10
8. Martin Lel (Ken) 1:01:25
9.Patrick Mukutu Ivuti (Ken) 1:01:44
10. Ben Kimutai Kimwole (Ken) 1:02:19
11. Benson Cherono (Ken) 1:02:30
12. Wilson Kenei Kiprono (Ken) 1.03:21
13. Boniface Mbuvi |Muema (Ken) 1:03:29
14. Paul Malakwen Kosgei (Ken) 1:03:31
15. Yonas Kifle (Eri) 1:03:31
16. Deriba Mergia (Eth) 1:03:36
17. Wilberforce Taleli (Ken) 1:03:49
18. Jeroen van Damme (Ned) 1:03:54
19. Tomoyuki Kawakami (Jpn) 1:05:18
20. Wim Padmos (Ned) 1:1.11.51
1. Mara Yamauchi (GBr) 1:10:38
2. Mindaye Gishu (Eth) 1:12:27
3. Aya Manome (Jpn) 1:12:50
4. Kristijna Loonen (Ned) 1:16:51
5. Wilma van Onna (Ned) 1:18:47
6.Barbara Zutt (Ned) 1:19:36