It was a delightful rebound for World Marathon Record holder Eliud Kipchoge who crusied to triumph in the NN Mission Marathon in a unique course at Enschede City’s Twente, Airport in the Netherlands Sunday.
Kipchoge crossed the end goal in 2 hours 04 minutes and 30 seconds demonstrating that he is as yet the man to beat in front of his comrade Jonathan Korir. He was met at the end goal by his mentor Patrick Sang who gave him the Kenyan banner.
It was the Kenyan’s first race of the year since last October’s London Marathon where he completed eighth.
Philemon Kacheran and Noah Kipkemboi were the lead pacemakers who later dropped after they were finished with the 25km imprint alloted to them.
Kipchoge will be seeking to be the third man to defend his Olympic marathon gold in August.
Ethiopia’s Abebe Bikila (1960 Rome, 1964 Tokyo) and Germany’s Waldemar Cierpinski (1976 Montreal, 1980 Moscow) are the other athletes who have defended the Olympics marathon crown.
Gladys Chesir, who was the only Kenyan in the women’s race, finished eighth in a time of 2:29:16.
It was a strategic race with Kipchoge driving the gathering from the beginning holding tight with pacemakers and after 33km imprint, he flooded forward dropping his preparation mate Jonathan Korir.
Kipchoge kept up the speed crossing the 40km imprint with a period of 1:57:58 prior to going to the end goal cheerfully showing that he was happy with what he had done.
“This was a real test and I’m happy I have managed to finish well. The organisers did a great job and it’s time to get back to Kenya and prepare for the Olympic games and we shall be having more consultations with my team,” said Kipchoge after the race.
He revealed that the weather conditions were good despite the wind which slowed the pace.
“Conditions were good though it was a bit windy but I don’t want to complain because we were all in one course and I have finished the race,” added Kipchoge.
The race brought together about 50 athletes who are seeking Olympics qualification times ahead of the games in July and August in Tokyo, Japan.
A special eight-lap course had been designed at Twente Airport where the public was not allowed due the Covid-19 pandemic.