Den Haag, The NetherlandsThe threat of a possible cancellation of the 34th edition of the City-Pier-City Half Marathon was taken away just a few days before the start of the race on Saturday 15 March. The threat was caused by actions for higher salaries of the Dutch police which refused to give assistance. These actions already caused several cancellations of important soccer matches in the country.
“The threat was real for our event, one of the biggest and most important road races in The Netherlands,” Mario Kadiks race director of the City-Pier-City half marathon said during a press conference on Thursday.
“A possible cancellation was a great worry for me. Even bigger than the fact that these days we also got the message that Samuel Wanjiru, who set the World record of 58:33 here last year, and his Kenyan compatriot Martin Lel could not start.
“Wanjiru has been several days in hospital with high fever. He does not want to run as he is still not fully fit. Lel has a slight injury and he does not want to take any risks as he is running the London marathon on April 13th.”
Nevertheless this Saturday the CPC, as the race is called, will feature a strong field with four runners who have a personal best within the hour for the Half Marathon distance.
Musyoki running after third win of the season
The favourite for the race is Patrick Makau Musyoki, with a personal best of 58:56. The silver medallist of the World Half Marathon Championships in Udine last October ran the half marathon in 2007 four times within 60 minutes. Saturday the African runner, who celebrated his 23rd birthday on March 2nd, will run his third half marathon of this year.
On February 7th he won in Ras al Khaimah (59:35) and on his birthday he was the fastest in Reading in 1:01:19.
“I go for a third win,” he said Thursday. “I love to compete with strong opponents. They are here.”
One of his opponents is Francis Kibiwott. The-29-year-old knows Dutch races very well. He raced a lot of times in The Netherlands. The CPC will his first race since November.
“I have trained very well and I am confident of doing well in this race.” His personal best is 59:26.
Wilson Kiprotich, who was first hired as a pacemaker will now do the full 21.1km. His personal best is just one second slower than Kibiwott’s.
The fourth sub-60 minutes runner in The Hague is Joseph Maregu. The Kenyan is running his first race in The Netherlands. He clocked his personal best of 59:45 on September 1st in Lille. It was his second win in the city in Northern France.
“Despite the problems in my home country the training went well. I am looking forward to compete in this strong race. In Lille last September I was running without real opposition.”
A dark horse in Saturday’s race is Denis Muembi Ndiso. The Kenyan won the 20 kilometres of Alphen aan den Rijn last Sunday in 57:15. He hopes to join the club of sub-60 minutes runners.
The women’s field is not expected to be as strong with the main favourite being Pauline Wangui of Kenya.
The CPC is also counting as the national championships half marathon.
Wim van Hemert for the IAAF
Patrick Makau Musyoki (Kenya)
PB: 58:56 Berlin (1) 01-04-2007
Francis Kibiwott (Kenya)
PB: 59:26 Berlin (2) 01-04-2007
Wilson Kiprotich (Kenya)
PB: 59:27 Lisbon (3) 13-03-2005
Joseph Maregu (Kenya)
PB: 59:45 Lille (1) 01-09-2007
William Kipsang (Kenya)
PB: 1:00:25 Den Haag (4) 17-03-2007
Greg van Hest (The Netherlands)
PB: 1:01:10 Den Haag (4) 27-03-1999
Sammy Rotich Kibet (Kenya)
PB: 1:01:16 Reims (2) 21-10-2007
Denis Musembi Ndiso (Kenya)
PB: 1:01:24 Montbeliard (1) 28-09-2003
Robert Cheboror (Kenya)
PB: 1:01:42 Lille (1) 31-08-2002
Philimon Terer (Kenya)
PB: 1:01:51 Reims (6) 21-10-2007
Marco Gielen (The Netherlands)
PB: 1:01:55 Den Haag (4) 23-03-1997
Koen Raymaekers (The Netherlands)
PB: 1:02:30 Den Haag (12) 17-03-2007
Sander Schutgens (The Netherlands)
PB: 1:02:31 Den Haag (11) 19-03-2005
Boniface Mbuvi (Kenya)
PR : 1:03:28 Den Haag (15) 17-03-2007
Michel Butter (The Netherlands)
PB: 1:03:52 Den Haag (17) 17-03-2007
Sammy Kurui (Kenya)
PB: 1:04:48 Remich (10) 24-09-2006
Nadja Wijenberg (The Netherlands)
PB: 1:08:58 Chelyabinsk (1) 18-06-1994
Melanie Kraus (Germany)
PB: 1:09:36 Grevenmacher (2) 26-09-1999
Wilma van Onna (The Netherlands)
PB: 1:10:59 Philadelphia (1) 20-09-1992
Pauline Wangui (Kenya)
PB: 1:11:20 Rotterdam (2) 09-09-2007
Kirsten Melkevik Otterbu (Denmark)
PB: 1:12:35 Jolster (1) 01-07-2006
Susanne Hahn (Germany)
PB: 1:14:04 Remich (2) 25-09-2005