Reigning Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge set a world leading 2:04:30 to win the NNMission Marathon at the Twente Airport yesterday.
Kipchoge waited until the final 30 minutes of the race to leave his rivals wanting in World Athletics Label road race where he had very little to prove.
With his place on Kenya’s team for Tokyo had already confirmed much earlier, Kipchoge was in arelaxed mood although the race was rescheduled from its original date on April 11 in Hamburg. Nevertheless it was a confidence-boosting performance ahead of the Olympic Games for the world record holder..
The pace was swift as a lead group of four reached 15km in 43:46, just outside 2:03 pace. After going through half way in 1:01:43, with Kipchoge running alongside pacemakers Philemon Kacheran and Jonathan Korir, the pace settled in the second half with each five-kilometre segment being covered in just outside 14:50.
By the time Kipchoge and the pacing duo reached 30km in 1:28:10, the chase pack was more than two minutes adrift but still on course for Olympic qualifying times. Shortly after, with 1:35 on the clock, Kipchoge left his pacemakers behind.
His tempo didn’t actually increase in the closing stages, but he maintained his sub-three-minute kilometre pace, which brought him to the finish line in a world-leading 2:04:30.
Korir held on for second place in 2:06:40 with Eritrea’s Goitom Kifle coming through to take third in 2:08:07. A little further behind, Uganda’s 2012 Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich placed fifth in 2:09:04.
“Mission accomplished,” said Kipchoge. “The conditions were really good, a bit windy, but I had no complaints. The race was perfect. This was the real test towards Tokyo. It’s good to have a marathon a few months before the Olympics to test my fitness.”
The leading contenders in the women’s race were paced by a small group of men, reaching 10km in 34:39 and half way in 1:12:58. Kenya’s Gladys Chesir, Sweden’s Hanna Lindholm and German duo Laura Hottenrott and Katharina Steinruck were all still in contention at this point, but Lindholm started to fade as they embarked on the second half.
Chesir was next to drop back, doing so after about 90 minutes of running, leaving Steinruck and Hottenrott as the lead duo. Steinruck (nee Heinig) began to edge ahead of her domestic rival in the final seven kilometres and the race was finally decided.
Steinruck reached the finish line in 2:25:59, elevating her to sixth on the German all-time list, just three places and 84 seconds adrift of her mother, Katrin Dorre-Heinig, the 1988 Olympic bronze medallist.
Portugal’s Sara Moreira finished strongly to take second place in 2:26:42 with Germany’s Rabea Schoneborn placing third in 2:27:03.
Women: 1. Katharina Steinruck (GER) 2:25:59; 2. Sara Moreira (POR) 2:26:42; 3. Rabea Schoneborn (GER) 2:27:03; 4. Laura Hottenrott (GER) 2:28:02; 5. Marcela Joglova (CZE) 2:28:16; 6. Jill Holterman (NED) 2:28:18; 7. Mieke Gorissen (BEL) 2:28:31; 8. Gladys Chesir (KEN) 2:29:16; 9. Laura Mendez (ESP) 2:29:28; 10. Ruth van der Meijden (NED) 2:29:30
Men: 1. Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) 2:04:30; 2. Jonathan Korir (KEN) 2:06:40; 3. Goitom Kifle (ERI) 2:08:07; 4. Philemon Kacheran (KEN) 2:08:47; 5. Stephen Kiprotich (UGA) 2:09:04; 6. Geoffrey Kusuro (UGA) 2:09:53; 7. Mathew Sang (KEN) 2:09:54; 8. Filex Chemonges (UGA) 2:09:59; 9. Hiskel Tewelde (ERI) 2:10:07; 10. Marcin Chabowski (POL) 2:10:17