Joshua Belet and Meseret Belete win TCS Amsterdam Marathon
Joshua Belet overwhelmingly won the 47th edition of the TCS Amsterdam Marathon in 2:04:18. The 25-year-old Kenyan went on the attack after 30 km and did not relinquish victory. Among the women, Meseret Belete raced to the win in a time of 2:18:21. Khalid Choukoud ran his best marathon ever in 2:08:36, but missed the Olympic limit for Paris 2024. Anne Luijten couldn't believe her luck in the Olympic Stadium, she did stay under the Dutch limit with 2:26:36.
At the stroke of 9 a.m. the starting gun sounds in the Olympic Stadium, after which a large favorite group is quickly formed. With three strong pace setters in the lead, the pace is brisk. After passing through the Rijksmuseum and the Vondelpark, they continue along the colorful Amstel River with the wind in their backs. Little by little the group thinned out. Among others, contender Bernhard Koech (PR 2:04:09) had to abandon the Platinum Label race early with cramp.
Halfway through, the leading group comes through perfectly, on track for the course record of 2:03:39 (Tamirat Tola from 2021). After 28 km the race breaks loose, at the moment when the perfect marathon weather conditions give way to a heavy shower, Joshua Belet pushes the pace so much that the field is completely torn apart. Belet runs at least four seconds per km faster than Birhanu Legese, Cybrian Kotut and Bethwel Chumba.
In the final kilometer, the sky cleared and the 25-year-old marathon specialist did not relinquish the win. However, he has to pay for his attack with declining km times. As he enters the Olympic Stadium, the crowd is on the benches and the clock stops at 2:04:18. The Kenyan wins and sharpens his personal record by 15 seconds. "I am very happy to have won, just too bad about the rain," says the brand new winner.
In the final kilometers, Belet's training partner, Cybrian Kotut, moved up to second place. The 31-year-old Kenyan also set a new personal record in these difficult conditions: 2:04:34. Third place was taken by Bethwel Chumba (2:04:37) and he edged Birhanu Legese into fourth place (2:04:44).
Meanwhile, in the final kilometers, Khalid Choukoud battled for a time faster than the Olympic limit of 2:08:10. At a tight pace, he completed his marathon surrounded by a large group of runners. The crowd waits anxiously for the fastest Dutchman. Choukoud squeezes everything out of it and runs to his best time ever: 2:08:36 and finishes ninth. Well ahead of Dutchmen Luuk Maas (2:11:47) and Lucas Nieuweboer (2:14:39).
"I would have loved to have run the Olympic limit," the 37-year-old Choukoud told me afterwards. "But I'm super happy with this time in these conditions. I felt super strong, ran with concentration and didn't make a mistake. Just a pity that the first run-through was a bit slow." Choukoud, who dipped nearly a minute below his personal record, will now make plans for another attempt in early 2024.
The women's winner, Meseret Belete, has a special story. The 24-year-old Ethiopian athlete only knew last Thursday that she would start in Amsterdam, after being unable to start in Chicago last week. Not only did she win, but at 2:18:21, she ran more than two minutes faster than her personal record.
Halfway through the race, there are nine ladies still in the race for the win. All nine run under the course record with an intermediate time of 1:09:09. Not much later the pace drops and from 30 km Belete is joined by compatriot Meseret Abebayehu and Kenyan Dorcas Tuitok. After 33 km, Belete proves to be the strongest and soloing to victory. Abebayehu runs a hefty personal record with 2:19:50 and Tuitoek 2:20:02 also runs to her fastest time ever in Amsterdam.
Not much later all eyes are on Dutch athlete Anne Luijten, she runs the race of her life and crosses the line after 2:26:36. The 29-year-old runner thus surprisingly dives below the 2:26:50 limit. "I didn't dare to believe until the last moment that I had succeeded. My hares did a great job and it went incredibly well. When we got a rain shower on our heads after the Amstel, I had a tough time. It stopped and we turned towards the city and I ran in full focus towards the finish. I want to thank the organization tremendously for what they all did for me," concluded an overjoyed Luijten. Results and edition 2024
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. The 48th TCS Amsterdam Marathon, organized by Le Champion, will take place on Sunday, October 20, 2024. Registration opens on Monday, October 30.