Kenyan distance runner Wilson Kipsang (© Getty Images)
Fresh from his Marathon World record of 2:03:23, Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang is already plotting his next challenge and has targeted breaking the course record at the Pfixx Solar Montferland Run on 1 December.
The 15km race, held in the Dutch city of ‘s-Heerenberg, is now in its 18th year. Last year Geoffrey Mutai won with a course record of 42:25 just two months after winning the Berlin Marathon. Now Kipsang, whose recent Marathon World record was set in Berlin, hopes to follow in his compatriot’s footsteps.
Kipsang has competed in this race once before. As a relative unknown back in 2007, he ran 43:30 to finish third behind legendary Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie. Two years later Kipsang improved on his 15km best with 41:35 – just 22 seconds shy of the World record – en route to his 58:59 PB at the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon.
Since then, the 31-year-old has gone from strength to strength in the Marathon, winning six of his nine races over the distance. After a 2:07:13 debut in Paris in 2010, he won the Frankfurt Marathon later that year with 2:04:57. He successfully defended his title one year later, improving to 2:03:42, then won the London Marathon the following year.
Kipsang took the bronze medal at last year’s Olympic Games, but the highlight of his career came last month in the German capital when he finally achieved his career-long goal of breaking the Marathon World record.
He is the latest in a long line of distance-running stars to compete at the Montferland Run.
Back in 2000, Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele – who at the time was just 17 years old and known only to keen observers of the sport – was the surprising winner with 43:09, taking almost a minute off the course record. One year later he went even faster and won in 42:42.
After him, other big names followed. USA’s former Marathon World record holder Khalid Khannouchi lined up for the race in 2005, Gebrselassie broke the course record in 2007 with 42:36, and Felix Limo – former winner of the Berlin, London and Chicago Marathons – won back in 1999. As well as Mutai, last year’s race also featured two-time World Marathon champion Abel Kirui.
Netherlands’ three-time World Half Marathon champion Lornah Kiplagat won the women’s race back in 2009. Romania’s 2008 Olympic Marathon champion Constantina Dita finished second here in 2009, while two-time World Marathon champion Edna Kiplagat was runner-up last year.
Organisers for the IAAF