Lydia Cheromei wins her debut marathon race at the 2008 ING Amsterdam Marathon (© organisers)
The 33rd edition of the ING Amsterdam Marathon was topped out by Paul Kirui and Lydia Cheromei of Kenya, respectively the men’s and women’s division race winners of this IAAF Silver Label Road Race.
Kirui, the 2004 World Half Marathon champion who has a full marathon PB of 2:06:44 (2006), clocked a time of 2:07:52, while Cheromei, running her first marathon broke the finishing tape in the 80-year-old Olympic stadium in an impressive 2:25:57.
Behind Kirui a new Ethiopian talent emerged in the shape of 24-year-old Chala Dechase who took second place in 2:08:31. Robert Cheboror, the Kenyan winner of the 2004 edition (2:06:23, PB) was third in 2:09:13.
Cheromei, the 2004 World Half Marathon silver medallist, was way ahead of her nearest opponent, Adenech Zekiros of Ethiopia, who clocked 2:30:17 for second place.
Last year the weather circumstances in Amsterdam were nearly ideal, and although the temperature of 13-15 degrees CT was nice for a marathon this year too, the runners were sometimes hindered by a rather strong wind especially along the river Amstel on the way to the half marathon marker.
From the beginning there was a large leading group of about twenty runners including several pace makers. They passed the first 5 km marker in a promising 14:57, and stayed together for a long time.
However, by halfway the leaders were down to nine contenders and two pace makers, who passed the 21.1 kms in 1:03:25. Those contesting the title were Kirui, Cheboror, Jonathan Kosgei, Jackson Koech, James Rotich, Deribe Deme, Albert Matebor, Dejene Berhanu and Silast Toek. Chala Dechase was at this point 1:17mins back from these leaders!
Working together the leading group stayed close together for some time but by 35km there were only five left: Kirui, Cheboror, Kosgei, Koech and Matebor.
Between 35 and 40 kms the pace increased and five became one, with Kirui passing the 40 kms point alone in 2:01:16.
Yet the race was by no means completely dead as by the same point it became clear that Chala Dechase was finishing very strongly. The Ethiopian who was running his marathon debut and his first race in Europe, passed 40km marker alone in second place in 2:01:44, and in the final kilometres tried to close the gap to the leader but Kirui was just to far away to be threatened.
“I'am very happy with my time'' Dechase said through interpreter and trainer Getaneh Tessema, “This was my first marathon.”
Winner Paul Kirui, who was third in Amsterdam in 2007, was also generally happy with his victory: “It was pity about the wind otherwise I could have been faster than this. I have trained very well. After 37 kms I broke away from the group and it was easy after that.”
Running her first marathon Lydia Cheromei was far too strong for her opponents. Until 25 kms she ran together with Ethiopian Adenech Zekiros but at 30kms Cheromei, who won the Rotterdam Half Marathon on 14 September in a personal best of 1:08:35, had forged ahead by 20 seconds.
Cheromei enlarged her lead easily and by the finish was over four minutes ahead of her nearest opponent.
“I knew I could win this,” said Cheromei. “I'm in very good shape. After the birth of my daughter I feel stronger. After the victory in Rotterdam I knew I could do well in the marathon. I proved it to day.”
Around 8000 runners took part in the marathon and another 16,000 in races over other distances.
Wim van Hemert for the IAAF
1. Paul Kirui (Ken) 2:07:52
2. Chala Dechase (Eth) 2:08:31 PB
3. Robert Cheboror (Ken) 2:09:13
4. Jonathan Kosgei (Ken) 2:09:22 PB
5. Jackson Koech (Ken) 2:09:42
6. James Rotich (Ken) 2:10:04
7. Deriba Deme (Eth) 2:10:13 PB
8. John Kibowen (Ken) 2:11:28
9. Albert Matebor (Ken) 2:11:34
10. Dejene Berhanu (Eth) 2:12:23
11. Silas Toek (Ken) 2:12:27
12. Benjamin Limo (Ken) 2:12:46
13. Solomon Tsige (Eth) 2:13:23
14. Hugo van den Broek (Ned)2:13:51
15. Saji Bouazza (Mor) 2:14:26
16. Denis Ndiso (Ken) 2:15:49
17. Sander Schutgens (Ned) 2:16:23 PB
no others under 2:20:00
1. Lydia Cheromei (Ken) 2:25:57 deb.
(splits: 17:12-34:10-51:26- 1:08:40-1:12:24-1:25-36-1:42:45-2:00:08-2:17:59)
2. Adenech Zekiros (Eth) 2:30:17
3. Marta Markos (Eth) 2:32:32
4. Risper Kimaiyo (Ken) 2:33:33 PB
5. Asnakech Mengistu (Eth) 2:34:31 PB
6. Mindaye Gishu (Eth) 2:35:51
7. Yeshimebet Tadesse (Eth) 2:37:42
8. Lena Gavelin (Swe) 2:38:44
9. Veena Reddy (USA) 2:39:33
10. Elaine Coburn (Fra) 2:54:58