Leading contenders for this year’s NN Marathon Rotterdam will try to break the course record of 2:04:27
Kenya’s Marius Kipserem will start as the slight favorite. He won the Abu Dhabi Marathon in December in 2:04:04, but his time cannot be counted as an official PB because it was later found that the course was slightly short. That in itself, though, will act as a huge motivating factor for the 30-year-old as he seeks to improve on his fifth-place finish from Rotterdam last year.
Ethiopia’s Tsegaye Mekonnen and Markos Geneti have sub-2:05 PBs, while Emanuel Saina and Woldaregay Gezahegn Kelkile are also strong competitors. Josphat Kiptoo Boit, who burst on to the road-running scene last year with half-marathon clockings of 59:19 and 59:42, will be making his marathon debut.
Dutch record-holder Abdi Nageeye and European champion Koen Naert of Belgium will be aiming to break their respective PBs of 2:08:16 and 2:09:51 or at least secure the Olympic qualifying mark of 2:11:30.
Three world records had been set in the Dutch city: Carlos Lopes’s 2:07:12 in 1985, Belayneh Dinsamo’s 2:06:50 in 1988 and Tegla Loroupe’s 2:20:47 in 1998. The men’s course record of 2:04:27 was set – and shared – by Duncan Kibet and James Kwambai in 2009 with the pair moving to equal second on the world all-time list at that time.
Having won the Valencia Marathon last year in 2:21:14, Ethiopia’s Ashete Bekele Dido will start as favourite in the women’s race. Compatriot Sentayehu Lewetegn and Kenya’s Stella Barsosio are both sub-2:24 performers and are expected to challenge for top honours.
USA’s Kellyn Taylor, Ethiopia’s Betelhem Moges and Portugal’s European half marathon champion Sara Moreira should also be in contention for the podium places.
Approximately 17,000 runners will take to the Erasmus Bridge for the start of the race on Sunday.
posted Friday April 5th