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Top runners for Amsterdam

Wilson Chebet

Wilson Chebet

With Wilson Chebet, Getu Feleke and Bernard Koech at the start line of the TCS Amsterdam Marathon on Sunday 20 October, the 38th event has the strongest field of competitors ever. Chebet won the last two events and also holds the course record of 2.05.41.

Mister Amsterdam, which has now become his nickname, reduced the course record held by Feleke by three seconds last year. Feleke, the winner in 2010, was even quicker over the classic distance last year with 2.04.50. The old winners can expect strong competition in the form of Koech. With his personal record of 2.04.53 (2013), he is currently the quickest Kenyan.

The 28-year old Chebet is competing in the TCS Amsterdam Marathon for the fourth year in a row. In 2011 and 2012 he was first to cross the line in the Olympic Stadium and one year earlier, he took second place in his debut race. His time of 2.06.12 is one of the quickest ever debut times. The Kenyan, who loves Amsterdam, has a personal best of 2.05.27. He arrived in the Netherlands at the beginning of September and came third in the ‘10 Engelse Mijl’ in Tilburg (46.26) but can he successfully defend his title in Amsterdam?

The Ethiopian Feleke is coming to Amsterdam for his third visit and, just like Chebet, also made his debut in the city in 2009. In 2010 he excelled himself in Amsterdam by winning in 2.05.44 which was, at the time, a new course record. The 26-year old marathon runner has made himself at home with the very best group of marathon runners in the world over the past few years. His time of 2.04.50 last year was the seventh fastest in the world.

Koech is fifth in the marathon ranking list this year, with all of the Kenyans behind him. In Dubai, he was fifth at the beginning of the year with a time of 2.04.53, just eight seconds behind the winner. Another notable result was his 58.41 in the half-marathon which he ran on 2 June in San Diego. Nobody, anywhere in the world, has been running as fast as Koech this year. The fact that the course was slightly downhill, however, means that his time was not official and cannot be found in the IAAF ranking list. But such a speedy half-marathon promises great things for the marathon.

These three top runners all have to be capable of setting set a new course record. Can Amsterdam write history by seeing a sub-2.05 for the first time? The best world performance in a marathon is 2.04.45, achieved by Lelisa Desisa in Dubai. The TCS Amsterdam Marathon, which bears the IAAF Gold Label, is the eight quickest marathon in the world.

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