With 10 men finishing within 2:08, last year’s TCS Amsterdam Marathon produced the greatest ever depth in a European race. One of the aims for this year’s edition of the IAAF Gold Label road race on Sunday (15) will be to match the quality of 12 months ago.
Eleven men in this year’s field already have sub-2:08 personal bests, while several other promising athletes will be making their marathon debut. And instead of focusing on record attempts by one or two athletes, the organisers try to ensure a large group remains at the front of the race until at least 30 kilometres.
Tesfaye Abera leads this year’s field. The 1.92m tall Ethiopian had a remarkable breakthrough at the 2016 Dubai Marathon, winning in 2:04:24. He followed it with a 2:06:58 victory at the Hamburg Marathon, but then dropped out of the marathon at the Olympic Games in Rio and finished 17th at this year’s London Marathon in 2:16:09.
“I had a lot of troubles with my stomach and with my hamstrings,” Abera said at a press conference in Amsterdam on Thursday. “But my preparation for this marathon has been good. Though I’m not yet in top shape, I think I can run 2:05.”
Seoul Marathon champion Amos Kipruto of Kenya will be one of Abera’s main competitors.
“I’m grateful the organisers here in Amsterdam invited me again, as last year I was struggling and I messed up the last part of my race,” said Kipruto, who clocked a PB of 2:05:54 when winning in the Korean capital in March. “This year I really want to improve my personal best on this nice course because I really like it here in friendly Amsterdam.”
Mule Wasihun has also travelled to Amsterdam in the hopes of setting a lifetime best. Last year he finished ninth in 2:07:19, having set a PB of 2:05:44 in Dubai earlier in 2016.
The Amsterdam Marathon wouldn’t be the Amsterdam Marathon without the participation of Wilson Chebet. The Kenyan set a course record of 2:05:36 in 2013 when he won the race for the third time….