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Posted: October 15, 2021::  

Athletics: Elite athletes TCS Amsterdam Marathon aim for course record and national titles

Yesterday, the elite field of the TCS Amsterdam Marathon was presented at the TCS Pace Port Amsterdam. At the marathon this Sunday, Tamirat Tola will attack the course record of 2.04.06 (Lawrence Cherono, 2018). At the press conference he was joined by the Dutch marathon runners Khalid Choukoud, Michel Butter, Frank Futselaar, Björn Koreman and Britt Ummels. They will decide together who will take the Dutch title.

In a relaxed setting Valentijn Trouw of Global Sports Communication gave the word to Tamirat Tola. The Ethiopian athlete has a personal best of 2.04.06 and an impressive list of honors: third Olympic Games 10,000 meters (Rio de Janeiro, 2016), second World Marathon Championships (London, 2017) and first at the Dubai Marathon in 2017. Tola is optimistic: “The weather is looking good for Sunday so I think it is possible to run around my personal best. We'll see on Sunday."

A large group will leave for an attack on the course record of 2.04.06 (Lawrence Cherono, 2018). Besides Tola, who has a personal best as fast as the fastest time in Amsterdam, compatriots Leul Gebresilase (2.04.02), Ayele Abshero (2.04.23) and Chalu Deso (2.04.53) have fast personal bests. Kenyans Laban Korir and Jonathan Korir will also join that group for the battle for the win.

Dutch get-together

A selection of the best Dutch marathon runners also joined the press conference: Michel Butter, Khalid Choukoud, Frank Futselaar, Björn Koreman and Bo Ummels. The Dutch championship will give the TCS Amsterdam Marathon extra cachet. “Fortunately, the time has finally come that we can run again, I am very happy that it is now possible in Amsterdam”, begins Michel Butter, who has given a new start to his marathon career by adding cycling training to his program. “I have cycled a lot more and have become much fitter.”

All four men are looking forward to the mutual battle. When Michel Butter is asked if he can predict the Dutch podium, he is resolute: “Khalid is a huge favourite. But a marathon is still a marathon and it is relentless. After a quick ten kilometres in Manchester, Khalid is in better shape. After that it gets very exciting. For that second place behind Khalid, that's what I'm going for."

Khalid Choukoud will arrive top fit at the start on Sunday. "This is a great year with participation in the Olympic Games and the arrival of a very beautiful daughter last month," says the resident of The Hague. “And whether I can fulfill the favourite role, you can only see after the finish. Anything can happen during a marathon. If you see the difference per kilometre on the personal bests, it is very little. So I think we're all favourites." Choukoud will aim for a time of 2.09 high or 2.10 low.

Butter and Futselaar ordered the pacers to get through at 65.45 minutes half way. Futselaar: “I would really like to reach the European Championship limit of 2.12.30. It would be fantastic to start there with a strong team. The TCS Amsterdam Marathon can be a great stepping stone for that. Two years ago I was second and I certainly hope to be on the podium again.”

Koreman is also looking forward to Sunday. “I'm super eager to run with these guys. I will leave a little faster with my pacer in comparison to Michel and Frank, that will be at 65 minutes. I have gained a lot of confidence that I can also run solo to the finish so I make my own plan.”


Bo Ummels will defend her Dutch title on Sunday. “I really want to run a personal record. With that I also look at the European Championship limit and the Dutch title. I am satisfied with my trainings that have been done and I am in good shape”, says Ummels. When she took the title two years ago on her debut, she clocked 2.32.34. The limit of the European Championship in Munich is at 2.31.30. Her main competitor will be Ruth van der Meijden.

In the elite field also a number of strong African women will start, such as the Ethiopian Haven Hailu. She indicated during the press conference that she is ready for Sunday and wants to run for a personal best faster than 2.23.52. Other strong female athletes in the front row are Angela Tanui (2.20.08), Besu Sado (2.21.03), Gebiyanesh Ayele (2.23.23) and Shaso Insermu (2.23.28). The course record is razor sharp for the women: 2.19.26 in 2019 run by Degitu Azimeraw.

The current start list can be found on

The start of the TCS Amsterdam Marathon, organized by Le Champion, is on Sunday at 9.00 hours in the Olympic Stadium. The race can be followed live on, via the NOS app and via a livestream on The World Athletics Platinum Label competition can be followed not only in the Netherlands, but also live in more than 190 countries. In addition to the full marathon, the half marathon, 8K and various kids runs also take place.

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