He won at the Dam Tot Damloop in 2015 and 2016 and on Sunday (17) he could potentially achieve a historic hat-trick at the IAAF Silver Label 10-mile race between Amsterdam and Zaandam. But the circumstances have changed for Edwin Kiptoo.
In previous years, the Damloop had been one of the biggest focuses of Kiptoo’s racing schedule. This year Kiptoo’s training is geared around 15 December, when he will make his marathon debut – and, fittingly, he chose Amsterdam as the scene for his first race over 26.2 miles. But if he wins on Sunday, he would be the first man to achieve three victories at the Dam Tot Damloop.
The 24-year-old, whose only competitive outing so far this year was over 10,000m at the Kenyan Police Championships in Nairobi in May, set his 10-mile PB of 45:19 when winning the Damloop in 2015. He came within six seconds of that mark in retaining his title last year.
Having reached the podium in all five previous appearances here, fellow two-time winner John Mwangangi would have been expected to be Kiptoo’s main rival, but the 26-year-old Kenyan is coming back from an injury. The 2012 world half marathon bronze medallist hasn’t competed since the Kenyan Cross-Country Championships in February.
Ethiopia’s Birhanu Legese heads to Amsterdam in good form, following races over 5000m in two IAAF Diamond League meetings during the summer. The 23-year-old has previously won half marathons in Berlin, New Delhi and Ras Al Khaimah and has a PB of 59:20 for the distance.
Dutch fans will be following Michel Butter with interest. The 31-year-old has contested this race on nine previous occasions, but usually it has formed part of his preparation for the Amsterdam Marathon and, as such, he would often run from Zaandam to Amsterdam before actually starting the race. This year, however, Butter will be racing the New York Marathon later in the year, so he can prepare properly for the Damloop.
Other athletes in the men’s field include Leonard Langat, Fernando Cabada, Mande Bushendich, Ronald Kirui and Onesphore Nzikwinkunda.
As is tradition at this race, the women start six minutes and four seconds – the difference between the course records, Leonard Komon’s 44:27 and Ingrid Kristiansen’s 50:31 – before the men. The overall prize goes to the athlete who crosses the finish line first.
Much is expected from home hope Susan Krumins, who has had a fantastic season. She finished fifth in the 10,000m and eighth in the 5000m at the IAAF World Championships London 2017. She has also set personal bests at 1500m (4:02.25) and the half marathon (1:10:52) and at all distances in between, including marks of 8:34.41, 14:51.25 and 31:20.24 for 3000m, 5000m and 10,000m respectively.
Krumins will be making her Damloop debut, but last year she won the Seven Hills 15km race in Nijmegen in 49:30.
Mercyline Chelangat is expected to be Krumins’ main rival. The Kenyan finished 13th in the 10,000m at the World Championships and 12th at the World Cross Country Championships earlier this year.
Romania’s Ancuta Bobocel is also on the entry list. The former steeplechase specialist has been making a gradual move to road racing and set a half marathon PB of 1:13:19 earlier this year. Japan’s Risa Takenaka, who was fifth in this race in 2015, is returning to Amsterdam.
About 46,000 runners will start the 10-mile race on Sunday. Another 15,000 will run over a shorter distance at the ‘Damloop by night’ on Saturday evening, while 4000 school children will run in the ‘Mini Damloop’.
Cors van den Brink for the IAAF