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Kipchoge clocks world-leading 2:04:30 in Enschede

Eliud Kipchoge waited until the final 30 minutes of the NN Mission Marathon to make his winning move as the Kenyan great kicked on to win the World Athletics Label road race in 2:04:30 at Twente Airport in Enschede on Sunday (18).

The Olympic champion had little to prove; his place on Kenya’s team for Tokyo had already been confirmed, as has his status as one of the all-time greats. But following a rare defeat at the London Marathon last year, the world record-holder was keen to produce a confidence-boosting performance ahead of the Olympic Games.

He did exactly that on Sunday, despite having to contend with some late changes to the race plans as the event had originally been set for 11 April in Hamburg.

Unlike many of Kipchoge’s previous marathon races, today’s event was never intended as an opportunity to chase record times. Nevertheless, the pace was swift as a lead group of four reached 15km in 43:46, just outside 2:03 pace.

After going through half way in 1:01:43, with Kipchoge running alongside pacemakers Philemon Kacheran and Jonathan Korir, the pace settled in the second half with each five-kilometre segment being covered in just outside 14:50.

By the time Kipchoge and the pacing duo reached 30km in 1:28:10, the chase pack was more than two minutes adrift but still on course for Olympic qualifying times. Shortly after, with 1:35 on the clock, Kipchoge left his pacemakers behind.

His tempo didn’t actually increase in the closing stages, but he maintained his sub-three-minute kilometre pace, which brought him to the finish line in a world-leading 2:04:30.

Korir held on for second place in 2:06:40 with Eritrea’s Goitom Kifle coming through to take third in 2:08:07. A little further behind, Uganda’s 2012 Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich placed fifth in 2:09:04.

“Mission accomplished,” said Kipchoge. “The conditions were really good, a bit windy, but I had no complaints. The race was perfect. This was the real test towards Tokyo. It’s good to have a marathon a few months before the Olympics to test my fitness.”

The leading contenders in the women’s race were paced by a small group of men, reaching 10km in 34:39 and half way in 1:12:58. Kenya’s Gladys Chesir, Sweden’s Hanna Lindholm and German duo Laura Hottenrott and Katharina Steinruck were all still in contention at this point, but Lindholm started to fade as they embarked on the second half.

Chesir was next to drop back, doing so after about 90 minutes of running, leaving Steinruck and Hottenrott as the lead duo. Steinruck (nee Heinig) began to edge ahead of her domestic rival in the final seven kilometres and the race was finally decided.

Steinruck reached the finish line in 2:25:59, elevating her to sixth on the German all-time list, just three places and 84 seconds adrift of her mother, Katrin Dorre-Heinig, the 1988 Olympic bronze medallist.

Portugal’s Sara Moreira finished strongly to take second place in 2:26:42 with Germany’s Rabea Schoneborn placing third in 2:27:03.

(04/18/2021) Views: 121 ⚡AMP
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NN Mission Marathon

NN Mission Marathon

Eliud Kipchoge will bid to resume winning ways in his last race before the Tokyo games with around 70 runners looking to make the Olympic qualification standard on April 18th in Twente.After suffering a rare marathon defeat in London last October, reigning Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge makes his return at the NN Mission Marathon in 2021. It is set to...

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Eliud Kipchoge looks forward to ‘beautiful race’ at NN Mission Marathon

Twente Airport in the Netherlands on Sunday will see the Kenyan stretch his legs over 26.2 miles ahead of the defence of his Olympic title in Tokyo

Over the years the Twente Airport near the city of Enschede in the eastern Netherlands has been used by famous airplanes such as the Hawker Hunter and Gloster Meteor. But on Sunday (April 18) the world marathon record-holder Eliud Kipchoge will take to the runway in the NN Mission Marathon.

The airport course was chosen after the original venue of Hamburg was ruled out due to the pandemic. It will be Kipchoge’s first race since he finished a disappointing eighth in the London Marathon in October and he is looking forward to getting back to winning ways.

“Sunday, personally, I will be running a very beautiful race,” he said in a pre-race press conference. “I call it beautiful because we are in need and tough times during the pandemic.

“I want to run a beautiful race to show the world that actually we are on a huge, huge transition towards a great future.”

Kipchoge, 36, will tackle an eight-lap, spectator-free course and his rivals include 2012 Olympic marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda, who has a PB of 2:06:33.

Laban Korir of Kenya is also in the field and has a best of 2:05:54, while Filex Chemonges holds the Ugandan record with 2:05:12.

In addition, Augustine Choge, the 2006 Commonwealth 5000m champion, is hoping to complete his first marathon after DNF’ing in Chicago in 2018.

In total around 50 athletes from 20 different countries will be attempting to gain the Olympic qualifying standards of 2:11:30 for men and 2:29:30 for women in an event organisers have dubbed ‘the fastest way to Tokyo’.

In the women’s race, former New York Marathon podium finisher Sara Moreira of Portugal takes on Kenyan Gladys Chesir. Moreira’s PB of 2:24:49 is slightly quicker than Chesir’s, although the fastest woman in the race is Mexican Madai Perez, who has a best of 2:22:59 but is now aged 41.

The race begins 8.30am (local time) and is due to be shown on the BBC website for fans in UK and Ireland.

So, can Kipchoge return to his best form? Was his defeat in London part of a decline or merely a blip? His sub-two-hour marathon in Vienna unfolded in autumn 2019 but in London five months ago he finished eighth in 2:06:49 in a race won by Shura Kitata. Later he blamed an ear blockage for his under-par run.

(04/17/2021) Views: 92 ⚡AMP
by Jason Henderson (Athletics Weekly)
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NN Mission Marathon

NN Mission Marathon

Eliud Kipchoge will bid to resume winning ways in his last race before the Tokyo games with around 70 runners looking to make the Olympic qualification standard on April 18th in Twente.After suffering a rare marathon defeat in London last October, reigning Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge makes his return at the NN Mission Marathon in 2021. It is set to...

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World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge travels to Netherlands for NN Marathon

World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge will compete in the NN Mission Marathon in Dutch city of Enschede on Sunday.

“NN Mission Marathon will go ahead as planned on April 18 and will be moved from Hamburg to Enschede, The Netherlands, on the specially designed course on Twente Airport which will be closed for general audience,”  race organisers said yesterday in a statement.

The race which was initially planned for April 11, was pushed forward by a week due to Covid-19 restrictions in Hamburg.

And on Tuesday, Kenyan competitors started their journey to Nairobi from Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County via road due to Covid-19 restrictions which have forced suspension of local flights. In Nairobi, the athletes boarded the KLM Airlines flight and were expected in Enschede at 7.00am.

Another group of pacemakers will leave Kenya on Thursday for Enschede.

Kipchoge will be joined by up to 70 elite athletes who are seeking to qualify for the 2020 Olympics Games. The notable athletes include 2012 Olympics Games marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich from Uganda, his training mates Laban Korir and Jonathan Korir, Uganda’s Filex Chemonges,  and Ethiopia’s Tadese Abraham.

Kiprotich, who used to train with Kipchoge at the Global Sports Communication camp in Kaptagat but has since changed his training to Kapchorua in Uganda, said his focus is to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

“The virus has really demoralised many athletes because even if they train, where are they going to compete? I have trained well and my focus now is to qualify for the Olympics Games and join my compatriot Fred Musoba who has already qualified,” revealed Kiprotich.

(04/14/2021) Views: 95 ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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NN Mission Marathon

NN Mission Marathon

Eliud Kipchoge will bid to resume winning ways in his last race before the Tokyo games with around 70 runners looking to make the Olympic qualification standard on April 18th in Twente.After suffering a rare marathon defeat in London last October, reigning Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge makes his return at the NN Mission Marathon in 2021. It is set to...

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Can pacemaker and three-time Toronto Marathon champion Philemon Rono help Kipchoge hit another milestone?

Pacemaker Philemon Rono is all fired up for the ardours task of pacing a strong field, led by world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge, at Sunday's NN Mission Marathon in Enschede.

Rono, who clinched the 2016, 2017 and 2019 Toronto Marathon titles will link up with another Toronto Marathon champion Laban Korir, former Olympic and world marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich, Augustine Choge and Jonathan Korir.

The race — initially set for April 11 in Hamburg, Germany — is set for Enschede in the Netherlands and an upbeat Rono is confident he has what it takes to cap off Kipchoge's glittering career with another feather.

“As a pacesetter, you have a lot of mathematics to do in a race, unlike the athlete. You need to be tactical, timely and stay focused on the laid down rules,” said Rono.

He proved his mettle during his stint at the Global Sports Communication training camp, where he set up Wilson Kipsang for a 2:03:38 world marathon record at the 2013 Berlin Marathon.

Rono's exploits also saw him fire up three-time world half marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor to a decent fourth finish at the Rotterdam Marathon.

“With such experience in pace-setting, I will do my best to achieve the results as demanded by the race organisers,” added Rono, nicknamed 'junior police' because of his short stature.

(04/13/2021) Views: 104 ⚡AMP
by Emmanuel Sabuni
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NN Mission Marathon

NN Mission Marathon

Eliud Kipchoge will bid to resume winning ways in his last race before the Tokyo games with around 70 runners looking to make the Olympic qualification standard on April 18th in Twente.After suffering a rare marathon defeat in London last October, reigning Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge makes his return at the NN Mission Marathon in 2021. It is set to...

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NN Running has announced its elite field for Mission Marathon

Set to run in the Netherlands on April 18, Eliud Kipchoge will headline the race of about 60 athletes.

The fields for the NN Mission Marathon have been released, and the world finally knows who will toe the start line with Eliud Kipchoge. The races are set to be run in Enschede, the Netherlands, on April 18, and fields of 23 women and 35 men will line up to compete. Kipchoge is the clear favourite for the win, but second place in the men’s race and first place in the women’s are both anybody’s to claim, which will make for a couple of exciting and dramatic competitions.

The men’s race

In the men’s race, the pre-race seed times aren’t even close, and there’s really no debate as to who is most likely to win. Kipchoge owns the world record in the marathon with his PB of 2:01:39, and he has also run an unofficial record of 1:59:40. While many of the other runners racing the NN Mission Marathon are looking to qualify for the Tokyo Games or prove that they deserve to be chosen for their national Olympic teams, Kipchoge has a simpler and less stressful reason to run: he needs to bounce back from his poor race at the London Marathon last fall.

He’s still a heavy favourite heading into the Tokyo Games, but his poor 2:06:49 showing in October proved that he is human, and for the first time in years, his competitors might seriously believe they have a chance to beat him. A great race in the Netherlands can boost Kipchoge’s confidence while also knocking down that of his rivals ahead of the Olympics.

The next fastest PB in the men’s field belongs to Felix Chemonges, who owns the Ugandan national marathon record of 2:05:12 (which he ran at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 2019). Chemonges hasn’t raced since March 2020, though, and his last result was a sub-par 2:10:08 run at the Lake Biwa Marathon in Japan.

Only one other man in the field, Kenya’s Laban Korir, has run a sub-2:06 marathon in his career, and his 2:05:54 PB puts him at third-best in the men’s race. Out of the 35 men set to race the NN Mission Marathon, 17 have run faster than the Olympic standard of 2:11:30, and 11 runners from that group have broken 2:10.

It’d be safe to bet on Kipchoge for the overall win in the Netherlands, but with so many other runners hovering around the same seed times, the battle for second and third place — plus the mad dash to cross the finish before the clock hits 2:11:30 — will produce must-watch coverage.

The women’s race has the potential to be much more competitive than the men’s when it comes to the overall win. Mexican marathon record holder Madai Perez has the fastest PB of any of the women in the field. The only thing is that she ran her national record of 2:22:59 all the way back in 2006, and the last time she broke 2:30 came in Chicago in 2017, when she ran 2:24:44. She certainly could take the win in the Netherlands, but her seed time is a bit misleading considering how long ago she ran it.

Next up are Jessica Augusto and Sara Moreira, a couple of Portuguese runners. Augusto owns a PB of 2:24:25, just ahead of Moreira’s career best of 2:24:49. Both of these women have posted tremendous times in the past, but neither has completed a marathon in recent years. Augusto’s last finish came in 2017, and she has one DNF since then.

Moreira has had an even worse few years, and her last finish came in 2015. Since then, she has DNFed three times, including in the marathon at the Rio Olympics. In 2015, though, she placed second at the Prague Marathon and fourth at the New York City Marathon. The next athlete on the start list is Kenya’s Gladys Chesir, who has a PB of 2:24:51, but like her Portuguese competitors, she hasn’t completed a marathon in years, and her last official finish was in 2017.

In total, nine of the 23 women in the field have beaten the Olympic standard of 2:29:30, with several others knocking at the door of sub-2:30 results. Like the men’s race, the women’s run should be an exciting affair, and it’s an event no running fan will want to miss.

(04/09/2021) Views: 109 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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NN Mission Marathon

NN Mission Marathon

Eliud Kipchoge will bid to resume winning ways in his last race before the Tokyo games with around 70 runners looking to make the Olympic qualification standard on April 18th in Twente.After suffering a rare marathon defeat in London last October, reigning Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge makes his return at the NN Mission Marathon in 2021. It is set to...

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NN Mission Marathon has confirmed Netherlands as new location

The NN Running Team announced on Tuesday that the NN Mission Marathon has been relocated to Enschede, the Netherlands. The race, which organizers postponed on March 31, will take place on April 18, one week later than it was originally set to be run.

The event will feature about 70 athletes, including marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge, who will be looking to use the race as a chance to test his fitness ahead of this summer’s Tokyo Olympics.

The original plan for the NN Mission Marathon was announced in February, and organizers hoped to hold it in Hamburg. That plan fell apart in late March, when COVID-19 restrictions changed in Germany, ultimately making it impossible to hold any race in Hamburg in the coming weeks. 

The NN Running Team announced the postponement and relocation of the Mission Marathon just over a week before the race date of April 11. The event was only pushed one week, which didn’t give event organizers much time to find a new host city for the race.

It turns out that they needed less than a week to do so, though, as the NN Running Team announced the official change of venue on Tuesday. The race will now take place at Twente Airport, which is about 12K outside of Enschede. 

The NN Running Team’s postponement announcement likely created a lot of stress for many of the runners set to race the Mission Marathon. The event, after all, was organized specifically for athletes looking to hit Olympic standard in the marathon ahead of the Tokyo Games. With so few racing opportunities on the calendar, this could be the last chance for a lot of athletes to qualify for Tokyo, and when the race was rescheduled, these runners probably began to scramble as they searched for a backup event in case the postponement turned into an outright cancellation. 

Kipchoge is already a lock for the Kenyan Olympic team, and he will be one of the favorites to win gold in the marathon this summer. Even so, he, too, probably breathed a sigh of relief when it was announced that the race can officially go ahead in the Netherlands, as there is still a lot riding on this race for him.

He doesn’t need to perform well to guarantee his ticket to Tokyo, but a good run at the Mission Marathon can silence any doubters who think he is past his prime. 

Luckily for Kipchoge and the many Olympic hopefuls slated to run the Mission Marathon, the race is good to go in its new home in the Netherlands. It will be can’t-miss action on April 18, and seeing as there is so much on the line for these athletes, dramatic runs can certainly be expected. 

(04/07/2021) Views: 113 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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NN Mission Marathon

NN Mission Marathon

Eliud Kipchoge will bid to resume winning ways in his last race before the Tokyo games with around 70 runners looking to make the Olympic qualification standard on April 18th in Twente.After suffering a rare marathon defeat in London last October, reigning Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge makes his return at the NN Mission Marathon in 2021. It is set to...

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Eliud Kipchoge's redemption run has been pushed one week due to COVID-19 restrictions in Germany

With less than two weeks to go until the NN Mission Marathon in Hamburg, event organizers have postponed the race until April 18 due to local COVID-19 restrictions. Those same restrictions in Hamburg are forcing officials to find a new location for the race with less than a month of notice. The event is set to feature Eliud Kipchoge, who is looking to bounce back from his sub-par performance at the London Marathon last October, but he will now have to wait a little longer before getting back in action. 

“Over the past months, we have learned that we need to be flexible and stay positive,” Kipchoge tweeted after the news of the Mission Marathon postponement broke. It’s true that members of the global running community got used to race cancellations throughout 2020, but by the end of the year and moving into 2021, it seemed like event organizers had figured out the right formula to hold a run during the pandemic (for elite-only races, at least). 

Unfortunately, COVID-19 proved once again that there is no way to guarantee an event’s safety during this pandemic. Granted, the Mission Marathon has only been postponed, but seeing as it has been rescheduled to run just one week after originally planned, it could be tough for organizers to find another city in the coming weeks. 

In a press release announcing the postponement, Hamburg Marathon managing director Frank Thaleiser expressed his team’s regret. “Of course we were quite disappointed at first, but we can understand the decision given the current situation,” he said. “We are now putting all our efforts into the realization of the event at a different location and are optimistic that we will find a solution.”

Thaleiser said he and the other organizers owe this race to the more than 70 athletes who were set to run in Hamburg. For Kipchoge, the race represented a chance to prove he’s still the man to beat going into the Tokyo Olympics, but for other runners, this was perhaps their last opportunity to qualify for the Summer Games. If the race cannot go ahead, many runners will have to scramble to find another competition before the summer.

 

(04/02/2021) Views: 64 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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