Amsterdam, 21 October 2012

Chebet and Hailu shine at the TCS Amsterdam Marathon: two course records

- Michel Butter runs third best Dutch time ever -

During the 37th TCS Amsterdam Marathon both course records were wiped from the books. Wilson Chebet came in three seconds under the old record and set the clock at 2.05.41. Meseret Hailu beat the record by almost a minute to 2.21.09. Michel Butter crowned his form with a wonderful time of 2.09.58. Despite the somewhat disappointing weather, there has been some very hard running in Amsterdam.

The Olympic Stadium was ecstatic when Chebet came into the stadium. It wasn’t a given that he would beat Getu Feleke’s time (2010, 2.05.44). It didn’t work out last year, but now the 27-year-old Kenyan can leave the capital with a broad smile. “It was a tough race," he said afterwards. “In some places I stood almost still due to the wind. Luckily I had good pacers around me.” Athletes’ manager Jos Hermens of Global Sports Communications indicated that 40 or 50 seconds were lost due to the stiff wind.

The race was decided in the final kilometres. After 35 km the leading group consisted of nine runners. Peter Kirui, one of the favourites, was the first to tear away from the group. After 39 km Chebet showed that he possessed the best legs and left the competition behind. The Ethiopian Bentayehu Assefa came second across the finish line in the Olympic Stadium after 2.06.22. Third was compatriot Abrha Gebretsadik who followed a second later. Feyisa Girma Bekele and Abraham also stayed under 2.07.

Michel Butter rises above himself
 After the huge welcome for Chebet, the stadium exploded when Michel Butter came into the Olympic Stadium. The 27-year-old TDR athlete was hugely relieved, when he saw that he had run under 2.10. Particularly impressive were his last 7 kilometres, when the pacers had done their work and he accelerated the pace by himself.  “I had to endure a lot and the last 2 kilometres were very heavy, I thought, this is going to be difficult. But I just did. I am very proud”, beamed a happy Butter. With this time Butter is now number three in the list of all-time Dutch greats.  The next step towards the Dutch record was set this weekend.

Ronald Schroer also ran hard in Amsterdam. He ran a new personal best: 2.16.19. Rens Dekkers couldn’t improve on his personal best; he finished as the third Dutchman in 2.17.19.

Meseret Hailu rushes to course record
The party atmosphere at organiser Le Champion was even greater when Meseret Hailu crossed the finish line after 2.21.09. The second course record became a fact with an improvement of nearly a minute. Olympic champion Tiki Gelana’s friend and last year's winner snatched the record. Getaneh Tessema’s training camp has been a great success again. After taking the world title at the half marathon, two weeks later the 22-year-old Ethiopian also wins the TCS Amsterdam Marathon. Her personal best was improved by no less than six minutes. The two friends talked together immediately after the match. Gelana joked that next year she will take on the challenge to grab back the record.
Caroline Kilel could not deliver her favourite role. After more than 31 km she had to discontinue the marathon. Hailu Enice Kirwa managed the last two kilometers. The Kenyan runner also ducked under the old course record: 2.21.41. Genet Getaneh was third (2.25.38).

Record number of Participants
 The TCS Amsterdam Marathon broke more records. No less than 38,000 runners entered for the various distances (marathon, Mizuno Half Marathon, 8 km and children’s runs). That's 5,000 more than a year earlier. Thereby the event has grown significantly. With 13,000 marathon runners, the TCS Amsterdam Marathon is the biggest marathon in the Netherlands and is fast becoming part of the largest marathons in Europe. With 15,000 registrations from abroad the TCS Amsterdam Marathon appears to be very popular internationally. With 82 nationalities, the atmosphere in and around the Olympic Stadium overwhelming.