The 2008 ING Brussels Marathon was won today by Rik Ceulemans in 2:19.31. The 36-year old Belgian surprisingly beat pre-race favourite Willy Cheruiyot from Kenya in a race that was heavily affected by the cold and the rain.
More than 7000 athletes gathered at the Brussels Celebration Park this morning (5) facing chilly, windy and wet conditions.
The Brussels Marathon - an IAAF Silver Label Road Race - has a very tough course, passing through lots of tunnels and with a long steep hill section at Tervueren Avenue at the 38K-point. The course record stands at 2:11.36 set in 2006 by Kenyan Stephen Luoro and that was way out of reach in today’s circumstances.
Ceulemans comes back from third place to win his first ever Brussels Marathon
A group of six with Belgians Ceulemans and Van Geyte and four Kenyans passed through the half way mark in 1:08.41. David Pkuto Plimo and Jonathan Kipsaina then broke away from the leading group. Ceulemans and Cheruiyot eventually closed in on the leaders at the 30K point and they both went into the lead.
“I knew the course and I wanted to do some damage on every uphill section. In the narrow and winding streets leading to the finish in the historical centre (of the city) I felt comfortable enough to consolidate the win against Cheruiyot,” said Ceulemans. “I’m very happy and a bit surprised indeed, because I prefer to run in tropical conditions. It’s my fifth Brussels Marathon and my experience paid off to take my first win here.”
The women’s race was won by Anne Zijderveld from the Netherlands in 3:15.51.
Ivo Hendrix for the IAAF
1. Rik Ceulemans (BEL) 2:19.29
2. Willy Cheruiyot (KEN) 2:19.32
3. Gino Van Geyte (BEL) 2:22.57
4. David Pkuto Plimo (KEN) 2:23.03
5. Jonathan Kipsaina (KEN) 2:24.59
1. Anne Zijderveld (NED) 3:15.51