Almaz Ayana pulverises course record TCS Amsterdam Marathon

Almaz Ayana won the TCS Amsterdam Marathon today with a course record of 2.17.20. The 30-year-old Ethiopian soloed the final kilometres to victory under loud cheers from the crowd in the Olympic Stadium. The Olympic 10,000-metre champion of Rio de Janeiro (2016) ran the fastest debut time ever. Among the men, Tsegaye Getachew triumphed. The 25-year-old Ethiopian crossed the line after 2.04.49, breaking his personal record, after a sensational battle for the win.

Ayana, one of the greatest athletes of all time, started her first marathon convincingly. With smooth strides, she made her way through the streets of Amsterdam. The conditions on the fast city course under the blue skies were ideal. The African runner was together with two pacers and her two debutant compatriots Genzebe Dibaba and Tsehay Gemechu for a long time. The intermediate times were already promising: after 21.1 km, they came through in 1.09.26.

From the Vondelpark (38 km) onwards, she took off and completed her dream debut in a historic time of 2.17.20. Besides the fastest debutant time at the classic distance, it is the seventh fastest time of all times. The old course record in Amsterdam stood at 2.17.57 (Angela Tanui (Ken) 2021). "I have no words for this. This is very special and I am very happy," the Olympic champion told reporters after her race. "It was very tough after my Olympic title in 2016 with injuries and pain. I am grateful for my husband, son and management for all the support."

Special: all the women on the podium today made their dream debut. Number two Genzebe Dibaba clocked 2:18.05. With this, the 31-year-old world record holder on the 1,500 metres also delivered a world performance. The Ethiopian who previously ran 1.05.18 in the half marathon could keep up with Ayana for a long time. 33-year-old Tsehaye Gemechu crossed the finish line in third place in 2.18.59, living up to her good form. 

Sensational battle
The strength of the TCS Amsterdam Marathon is that a strong and broad field of participants start in the men's event. Experienced pacers Edwin Kiptoo, who has been the director in Amsterdam for years, and Rhonzas Kilimo guided the compact group to 61.53 at a tight pace halfway through. When doing so, they dipped below the intermediate time of the course record (2.03.39, Tamirat Tola (Eth). As the Kenyan pacers left the field after 30 kilometres, the pace of the remaining 10-strong leading group dropped slightly.

From the 38-kilometre point at the Vondelpark, which was in beautiful autumn colours, the pace was picked up again and the elimination race began. The five African runners who remained looked at each other. It produced a sensational battle for the win of the World Athletics Platinum Label marathon. When Tsegaye Getachu launched a supreme final sprint at 41 kilometres, Titus Kipruto and Bazezew Asmare finished ahead. Getachu proved to be the strongest after 42 kilometres and 195 metres. With 2.04.49, he shrugged off 22 seconds from personal record.

The entire podium ran faster than 2.05 and ran their fastest time ever. 24-year-old Kenyan Titus Kipruto finished second in 2.04.54. Etiophia's 26-year-old Bazezew Asmare finished third in 2.04.57.

Khalid prolongs title
The crowd is still exuberant as Khalid Choukoud comes sprinting into the Olympic Stadium under through the marathon gate. Dressed in an orange jersey, he crowned himself Dutch champion once again. Euphoric, he ran through the finish ribbon after 2.09.34 and kissed the red athletics track in delight. He dipped 21 seconds below his personal record.

"I ran really well. I understand the marathon better and better," concluded the 36-year-old marathon runner. "It was a good decision not to start too fast, which I wanted to do before. Because of the headwind, I kept calm in the first part and was able to finish faster in the second part.

And so, for the second consecutive year, Choukoud was awarded the gold medal at the Dutch championships. Richard Douma could keep up with the routinier for a long time. However, the former track runner struggled after 27 kilometres and missed the connection with the later winner. He then abandoned the race at 35 kilometres. Lucas Nieuwenboer (2:15.26) and Remyo Tielsema (2:16.05) completed the podium.

Leonie Balter is the new Dutch women's champion. The 31-year-old Balter needed 2.37.41 for her gold race. She ran the race largely with Jacelyn Gruppen, among others. "I didn't have an ideal preparation and around 20 kilometres I got stomach problems. Fortunately, I was able to come back to the group and ran strong for the last five kilometres. I then really focused on winning rather than a personal record," said the researcher who lives in Stöckholm. Gruppen recorded a personal record with 2:39.08. Eva van Zoonen completed the marathon in 2.44.22 and came third.

Results and 2023 edition
For all results check here. The 47th TCS Amsterdam Marathon, organised by Le Champion, will take place on Sunday 15 October 2023. Registration opens on Monday 31 October.