NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 8 – On a perfect day for running, Kenya’s Marius Kipserem regained his Rotterdam Marathon title with a course record of 2:04:11 at the IAAF Gold Label road race 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.
-Ekiru, Kiplagat shatter Italian all-comers records in Milan
Elsewhere, Titus Ekiru and Vivian Kiplagat shattered the Italian all-comers records at the 19th Generali Milano Marathon.
Ekiru clocked 2:04:46 to smash his previous PB of 2:07:43 he set in Seville last year and the 2:07:13 Italian all-comers mark set by Edwin Koech in 2017.
Kiplagat won the women’s race in 2:22:25, well under Galina Bogomolova’s previous Italian all-comers record of 2:22:53 set in Rome in 2008.
“I did not expect to run so fast,” said Ekiru, who won his fourth career marathon after victories in Seville 2017 with 2:07:43, Mexico City 2018 with 2:10:38 and Honolulu 2018 with 2:09:01.
“The weather conditions were not bad and the race course was very fast. I tried my best and at 30 kilometres I could push the pace by myself.”
Chebet, the fastest runner in the field with a PB of 2:05:30, finished runner-up in 2:07:22 ahead of Koech (2:08:24) and Hosea Maiyo Kiprono (2:09:02).
In the women’s race, Kiplagat ran in Milan for the third consecutive year after clocking 2:32:37 in 2017 and 2:27:08 in 2018. She also clocked her half marathon best of 1:09:05 on Italian soil in Verbania in 2017.
1 Titus Ekiru (KEN) 2:04:46
2 Evans Kiplagat Chebet (KEN) 2:07:22
3 Edwin Koech Kipngetich (KEN) 2:08:24
4 Hosea Kiprono Maiyo (KEN) 2:09:02
5 Geza Senebeta Tadesse (ETH) 2:13:46
1 Vivian Jerono Kiplagat (KEN) 2:22:25
2 Joan Kigen Jepchirchir (KEN) 2:32:32
3 Abebe Ayelu Hordofa (ETH) 2:37:50
4 Nikolina Sustic (CRO) 2:38:47
5 Getahun Kasaye Bizuwork (ETH) 2:39:59
-Kipchirchir smashes Daegu course record
In South Korea, Felix Kipchirchir smashed the course record at the Daegu Marathon. Breaking from compatriot Kennedy Cheboror after the 35th kilometre, Kipchirchir forged on to a 2:05:33 victory to break the course record of 2:06:29 set by Abraham Kiptum in 2018.
Kipchirchir was on a tear from the start, leading the field through the first five kilometres in 14:49 and 10 kilometres in 29:31.
In a close race, Pamela Rotich won the women’s title to regain the title she won in 2017.
The Kenyan, who finished third in Daegu last year, crossed the finish line in 2:28:10 with Ethiopia’s Medina Deme Amino finishing just one second behind. Korea’s Choi Kyungsun was third in 2:29:06.
-Kiprop smashes course record in Vienna
In Austria, Nancy Kiprop produced the outstanding performance of the 36th Vienna City Marathon when she broke the women’s course record by over a minute and a half in running 2:22:12 at this IAAF Gold Label road race.
Kiprop led a Kenyan clean sweep of the podium with all three women setting personal bests. Angela Tanui was runner-up in 2:25:37 and Maurine Chepkemoi third in 2:26:16.
In the men’s race Kenyan Vincent Kipchumba won with a personal best of 2:06:56, improving his lifetime best by almost four minutes.
Kipchumba surged away in the closing stages from Switzerland’s Tadesse Abraham who finished second with 2:07:24. Uganda’s Solomon Mutai took third with 2:08:25, improving his best by just over one minute.