Daniel Wanjiru is the unexpected winner 2:05:21
Cheered on by thousands of supporters, today Daniel Wanjiru won the 41st TCS Amsterdam Marathon in 2:05.21, setting a new course record. After joining the lead pack around the 34-kilometre mark, the Kenyan broke away in the Vondelpark and went on to cross the finish line in the Olympic Stadium, well ahead of his nearest rival. Ethiopian Meselech Melkamu took the women's title in 2:23:21. Khalid Choukoud and Ruth van der Meijden were fastest among the Dutch runners with respective times of 2:11:23 and 2:33:44.
Photo credit: Karel Delvoye, Orange Pictures
The runners lined up at the start of today’s marathon were a wide-ranging group that included both emerging talent and seasoned athletes. The race was outside the course record until the halfway point, when Sammy Kitwara, then in the lead, picked up the pace. The ten or so other runners who followed suit included Wilson Chebet, aka Mr Amsterdam, who won in 2011, 2012 and 2013, and Bernard Kipyego, who won in 2014 and 2015. Despite promises to the contrary, both failed to defend their title. The race began in earnest at the 32-kilometre mark, when Kirui, Kitwara and Wasihun closed a 6-second gap to catch up with the lead pack. Wanjiru joined them two kilometres later. “At 30 kilometres I was in the zone and, from that point on, I ran my own race.” In the Vondelpark, with just 2 kilometres to the finish line, he surged ahead, establishing a 10-second lead. “From the 39th kilometre I knew I was going to win.” With no one else anywhere near, he finished to deafening applause in 2:05.21, hacking almost 3 minutes off his personal best. “I was well prepared for the race and was hoping to set a new personal record. Maybe I, or someone else, can shave even more off it in a future marathon.” Sammy Kitwara finished second in 2:05:45. He dictated the mentality of today’s race: “When I tried to establish a lead, others did the same. They didn’t run their own race.” He congratulated Wanjiru, but told him: “Next time, I'll be out to beat you.” Marius Kimutai placed third in 2:05:47.
Ethiopian Meselech Melkamu won the women’s title in 2:23:21, well ahead of compatriot Abebech Afework (2:24:27) and Bahrain's Eunice Chumba (2:25.00).
Dutch athletes Khalid Choukoud and Ruth van der Meijden both did what they set out to do today. Choukoud ran a time of 2:11:23: “My main aim today was to be the fastest among the Dutch runners. I’m also very pleased with my time.” Van der Meijden, who clocked a time of 2:33:44, was also satisfied with her performance: “The race went well. To start with, the pace was probably a bit too fast, so I lost time towards the end. I was hoping to set a new personal best and win the Dutch women's title. I did both.”
A total of 45,000 runners lined up at the start of the TCS Marathon, the Mizuno Half Marathon and the TCS 8K. Next year's event will be held on 15 October 2017. Registration opens at the start of November.
Full results can be found at: TCSAmsterdameMarathon.nl.