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Eindhoven hoping for sub-2:05

marathon eindhoven

Last year, the 2:05:46 winning time of the De Lage Landen Marathon Eindhoven was the ninth fastest in 2012 on a standard course and it can currently boast of also being the ninth fastest marathon in the world on the basis of an average of the top 10 performances in the race.

However, Marathon Eindhoven Race Director Peer Pulles is not prepared to sit on his laurels.

His ambitious target for the 2013 event this coming Sunday (13) is seeing the course record improve for the third consecutive year, perhaps to below 2:05, and to continue the Marathon Eindhoven’s ascent among the world top races over the classic distance.

Only six marathons around the world can presently claim course records below that elite benchmark.

“After (Kenya’s) Dickson Chumba ran a course record of 2:05:46 last year, we have made further modifications to the course, especially in the closing stages of the race, and taken out eight corners,” said Pulles.

“In some parts of the course, the elite runners will be able to see two to three kilometres straight ahead of them, and we have not lost any of the local scenery and landmarks that makes the race so attractive to other participants.

“As the runners are still arriving, I haven’t discussed specific split times but provisionally I am expecting the pacemakers to reach the halfway point between 62:30 and 62:40,” added Pulles on Wednesday.

“We have contracted a group of 23 runners for this year’s race; realistically I only expect around half that number to be in the leading group at 21km, but I would hope that a few of those would then be able to come through in the second half of the race and produce a really fast time.

“Dickson last year ran a great negative split after the leaders went through halfway in 62:57; he was on course for running under 2:05 at 40km (reached in 1:58:39) but tired over the final two kilometres.

“This year, we hope that there is going to be someone who is stronger at the finish and we see a fantastic time.

“There will be pacemakers up to 32km to help the men at the front this year. I would be happy with ‘just’ a course record but why not set our sights high? Last year’s race showed that a sub 2:05 time is a realistic possibility on this course,” he commented, revealing some of the thinking behind the Marathon Eindhoven elite race strategy.

The two fastest men on the start line for the 30th edition of the race on Sunday will be Ethiopia’s Yemane Tsegay Adhane and Bazu Worku.

Adhane, 28, has a personal best of 2:04:28 set when winning the 2012 Rotterdam Marathon while Worku, 23, has run 2:05:25 and has already won two marathons on US soil this year, in Houston and Duluth.

In addition to the Ethiopian pair, Kenya’s Nathaniel Kipkosgei will return to Eindhoven for the second time in three years.

Kipkosgei caused a sensation two years ago when he was employed as a pace maker but, with the permission of the organisers, finished the race in second place on his debut over the full distance in what is still his personal best of 2:06:28.

Just behind the leading trio are the Kenyan pair of Lawrence Kimaiyo, who won the 2012 Kosice Marathon in a personal best of 2:07:01 and Francis Kiprop, who won the Madrid Marathon earlier this year and has a best of 2:07.04.

The two other runners in Eindhoven with bests under 2:08 are Ethiopia’s Limenih Getachew and Teferi Kebede Balcha, who both have personal bests of 2:07:35.

There are also another five men who have run under 2:10 including Kenya’s Josphat Menjo, who has run under 27 minutes for 10,000m on the track and returns to The Netherlands after making his marathon debut earlier this year with second place in the Enschede Marathon in 2:09:34.

“In addition, we also have a number of high quality runners who will be making their debut at the marathon. On paper, this is the best field that has stood on the start line in Eindhoven,” said race director Peer Pulles.

One of those debutants worth highlighting is Kenya’s Philip Langat, still only 23, who won the half marathon in nearby Breda last year in 61:05.

The weather conditions on Sunday could be ideal for fast times with the temperature forecast to be around 7 degrees Celsius at the start of the race, and cloudy with the possibility of some light rain during the morning.

The De Lage Landen Marathon Eindhoven itself is one of just five races in the Dutch city on 13 October.

There is also a half marathon (which incorporates the De Lage Landen Company Run), the Dela 4×10.5km marathon relay, the IAK 5km City Run and Trudo 2.5km Mini Marathon.