Edwin Kiptoo caught fellow Kenyan Joyce Chepkirui in the final kilometres of the Dam to Damloop, an IAAF Silver Label Road Race held over 10 miles between Amsterdam and Zaandam, on Sunday (20).
As is traditions at this race, the women set off 6:04 – the difference between the course records – before the men, and there is an extra bonus for the first athlete to cross the line.
Kiptoo made his intentions clear from the outset. While still in Amsterdam, the 27-year-old Kenyan took up the pace and didn’t look back. He was on his own after just two kilometres, chasing the women who had started six minutes earlier.
Defending champion John Mwangangi was the only athlete who had the guts to follow Kiptoo, but even he couldn’t make an impression on his compatriot. Kiptoo reached 5km in 13:48, some 13 seconds ahead of Mwangangi with Wilson Kipsang part of a small group that was a further 13 seconds behind.
Kiptoo was even more impressive in the second five-kilometre section and passed 10km in 27:54, some 26 seconds faster than the 10km PB he set earlier this year in Bangalore.
Kiptoo overtook Chepkirui in the final kilometre to bag the overall winner’s prize of €11,000. The course record of 44:27 was in sight at one point, but Kiptoo was satisfied with his world-leading time of 45:19.
“The last kilometres were difficult, as I had started very fast,” said Kiptoo. “But I’m very proud of my victory here.”
Unlike most of the others in the race, Kiptoo doesn’t have any plans to move up to the marathon yet, but he will be one of the pace-makers at next month’s Amsterdam Marathon.
Mwangangi, who also won this race in 2010, was second in 45:58. Yenew Alamirew, a world and Olympic 5000m finalist, was third in 45:58.
Kipsang was seventh in 46:42, but the former marathon world record-holder was not at all disappointed. “It was a good test for me on my way to the New York Marathon,” he said.
In the women’s race, Chepkirui took the lead shortly after the start. In the first five kilometres, Dibaba Kuma, Tilahun Yenenesh and Jackline Chepngeno were still with her as they passed the 5km mark in 16:10.
At the 10km point, reached in 32:05, Chepkirui was still in the lead, but the two Ethiopian athletes were 50 seconds back and Chepngeno couldn’t do more than just follow her compatriot.
“I wanted her to take over, but she couldn’t run any faster,” said Chepkirui, who crossed the line in a world-leading 51:30, just seven seconds behind Kiptoo. “I’m preparing for the Amsterdam Marathon and this was a good test for me.”
Chepkirui won the Honolulu Marathon last year in 2:30:23 and was 10th in Boston this year with a personal best of 2:29:97.
Chepngeno, the 2009 world youth 3000m bronze medallist, was second in 51:34. Kuma was a distant third in 52:52.
Tom Wiggers (49:04) and Kim Dillen (56:35) were the fastest Dutch athletes in the race.
The conditions were excellent with a temperature of 14C at the start and 85% humidity. More than 45,000 runners followed the elite athletes.
Cors van den Brink for the IAAF