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Surprise Winners at Egmond Half 2015

Azmeraw Mengist wins Egmond Half Marathon 2015

Purity Cherotich and Azmeraw Mengist were surprising winners of this year’s stormy PWN Egmond Half Marathon 2015

The PWN Egmond Half Marathon, during which today’s stormy weather played a leading role, was won by Kenyan runner Purity Cherotich in 1:11:40. This is the second year in a row that the traditional male-female race was won by a woman. In the men’s group, unknown Ethiopian Azmeraw Mengist fought and won against the elements in 1:03:01. The first Dutchman across the finish line was Abdi Nageeye, who did very well and finished fourth in 1:03:59. With 1:15:51, Andrea Deelstra ran the best time for the Dutch ladies.

Stormy Egmond Half Marathon 2015

With a head start of 9:17 minutes over the men, the women left the start of the half marathon half an hour later than planned today. Organiser Le Champion decided earlier in the day to delay the quarter marathon by half an hour. The high water level, caused by the strong westerly wind, was still making the beach impassable, so the half marathon was moved as well. After the first few kilometres through the village, a leading group of eight women remained.

Halfway down the beach, the pace was ramped up by the African ladies and Dutch runners Andrea Deelstra and Miranda Boonstra were no longer able to keep up. The way back through the dunes turned into a battle between Ethiopian Meseret Hailu and Mihret Derbe, and Purity Cherotich and Gladys Chesir from Kenya. The diminutive African runners really had to rely on their strength and technique today, since the weather did not exactly hand them victory on a silver platter. Ultimately, Cherotich turned out to be the strongest. At the 16 km point she ran away from favourite Hailu, keeping the lead until she crossed the finish line. She even managed to stay well ahead of the men, finishing in 1:11:40. Hailu followed almost a minute later with 1:12:32. The third place on the podium was taken by Gladys Chesir with a time of 1:12:58.

The men’s race had an amazing strong set of competitors. Le Champion had the honour of hosting three world champions at the starting line: Bernard Kipyego, Lucas Rotich and John Mwangangi. In addition, virtually every top Dutch athlete was present. Amongst others, Khalid Choukoud, Abdi Nageeye, Tom Wiggers and Ronald Schröer managed to get a place in the large leader group. The men came off the beach in Castricum aan Zee looking decidedly sandblasted. Then the battle truly began in the North Holland Dune Reserve. Soon, Choukoud and Wiggers could no longer keep pace with the impressively speedy African runners. Abdi Nageeye continued to fight to hang in there, but had to let go of the big favourites at the 16 km point.

The group with Kipyego, Rotich and Mwangangi also included unknown Ethiopian runner Azmeraw Mengist. With his easy running style, he slowly drew the group apart. Until the Bloedweg, where there was a strong headwind, only Bonsa Diba managed to keep up with Mengist. However, the surprising leader was too late to catch up with the lady in first place, and he crossed the finish line in 1:03:01, achieving the first major victory in his career. The second place in this hard-fought race was Diba (1:03:36), and Mwangangi came third (1:03:53). There was admiration for Nageeye’s performance (fourth with a time of 1:03:59), who competed for a spot on the podium for a significant amount of time: “About four kilometres before the finish something hit my foot, which meant my hamstring started acting up so I could no longer catch up. Still, I’m very happy with my performance today.”

17,000 runners in total braved today’s the severe weather. It was incredibly tough because of the exceptionally high winds. Still, it was a wonderful challenge for the participants, and it is part of the character of the PWN Egmond Half Marathon. The performances were a thrill to watch for the crowd. Looking back on this heroic event gives everyone at Le Champion a fantastic feeling, and a special thank you goes out to all the volunteers, sponsors and organisations who helped out during the event despite the weather.

Top 5 Men

1. Azmeraw Mengist (ETH) 1:03:01
2. Bonsa Diba (ETH) 1:03:36
3. John Mwangangi (KEN) 1:03:53
4. Abdi Nageeye (NED) 1:03:59
5. Lucas Rotich (KEN) 1:04:10

Top 5 Women

1. Purity Cherotich (KEN) 1:11:40
2. Meseret Hailu (ETH) 1:12:32
3. Gladys Chesir (KEN) 1:12:58
4. Mihret Derbe (ETH) 1:15:03
5. Lucy Macharia (KEN) 1:15:37

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