Kipserem regains Rotterdam title with course record

Kipserem regains Rotterdam title with course record

On a perfect day for running, Kenya’s Marius Kipserem regained his NN Rotterdam Marathon title with a course record of 2:04:11, while Ashete Bekere won the women’s crown in 2:22:55 on Sunday.

A large lead group set off a bit too fast for the first kilometre but the pace soon settled and they covered the first 10 kilometres in 29:33 before reaching the half-way point in 1:02:17.

Twelve men were still together at the front when the pacemakers left at 30 kilometres, reached in 1:28:38, but Kenya’s Emanuel Saina then accelerated and only his teammates Kipserem and Vincent Rono could follow. Kipserem soon took up the running, forcing everyone to run alone for the final 10 kilometres.

With a slight increase in pace in the final stages, Kipserem eventually crossed the finish line on the Coolsingel in 2:04:11 to take 16 seconds off the course record set 10 years ago.

“I’m very happy with my victory and course record,” said the 30-year-old, who took exactly two minutes off the PB he set when winning in Rotterdam in 2016. “At 39 kilometres it seemed as though the course record might not be possible, but thankfully I was able to speed up.”

Turkey’s Kaan Kigen Özbilen finished second in 2:05:27, just 16 seconds shy of Mo Farah’s European record and the second-fastest time ever by a European athlete. Saina, unable to keep the pace in the last kilometres, finished third in 2:05.42.

Abdi Nageeye, who trains with Özbilen and Eliud Kipchoge in Kaptagat, took almost two minutes off his own Dutch record with 2:06:17, moving to fourth on the European all-time list.

European champion Koen Naert finished seventh in a PB of 2:07:39, just 19 seconds away from the Belgian record.

Ashete Bekere won the women’s race in 2:22:55, a time that has been bettered in Rotterdam by only former world record-holder Tegla Loroupe and 2012 Olympic champion Tiki Gelana.

A relatively small lead pack ran together during the first half, covering 10 kilometres in 33:36 and reaching half way in 1:11:02. After 25 kilometres, passed in 1:24:20, Bekere left behind the last of her opponents and ran alone for the remainder of the race.

She reached the finish in 2:22:55, not far off the PB of 2:21:14 she set when winning in Valencia last year. Kenya’s Stella Barsosio was second in 2:23:34 while USA’s Aliphine Tuliamuk was third in 2:26:48.