ROTTERDAM, September 16 – Patrick Makau Musyoki and Lydia Cheromei emerged winners of the 5th edition of the Fortis Half Marathon Rotterdam held last weekend.
Makau Musyoki outsprinted compatriot Evans Cheruiyot with both clocking the same time of 59:29, while Lydia Cheromei set a new personal best on the way to winning her second Rotterdam crown.
The 31-year-old had no opponents setting a new course record of 68:35 to break the old course best that she had set when she won the first edition of the event on 12 September 2004 in 69:13.
On the proven fast course, the men were of to a fast pace with a big leading group staying together and passed the ten kilometres marker in 28:13, just one second slower as the first five kilometres.
Just after 10kms Joseph Maregu pressed the pace and the leading group started to spread out. Around 13 kilometres Makau Musyoki, who till then had been hidden in the group went up to the front leading the head group of 14 runners.
After passing the turning point on the two lap course for the second time Wilson Chebet, a late entrant, upped the pace, and 12 men passed the 15 kms point in 42:41/42:42. This group then lost the very impressive looking Tanzanian Dickson Marwa Mkami, who tripped and fell (finished 11th).
Back to the Coolsingel in the centre of Rotterdam with the wind on their backs the pace increased with the leading group finally breaking down to just five, Makau Musyoki, Evans Cheruiyot, Chebet, Paul Kosgei and Charles Munyeki, who were in contention for the victory.
In the last two kilometres first Munyeaki fell back and then Kosgei also did. On the final stretch on the Coolsingel, Chebet lost contact, and so we were left with the same scenario as last year as Evans Cheruiyot and Patrick Makau Musyoki engaged in a sprint for victory.
Last year Cheruiyot won in 59:12 setting the course record with Musyoki seven seconds back but this year there was not much difference by the finish both clocking the same time: 59:29.
For the 23-year-old Makau Musyoki it was his fifth victory in a half marathon and the second in The Netherlands this year. Earlier he won in Ras al Khaimah, Reading, The Hague (Fortis City-Pier-City) and Berlin.
“I was very confident in winning this race”, the winner said afterwards. “I waited long in the group. I knew this was my day.” Evans Cheruiyot was very happy afterwards. “I’m two months in training now because I was injured. I’m still not 100 percent. But I wanted to run Rotterdam again.”
Cheromei was inactive for several years but is back in business.
“I am very happy with my personal best and bettering my own course record," she said.
Dutchwomen Ilse Pol and Miranda Boonstra finished second and third both in personal best times.