Olympic limits at stake at TCS Amsterdam Marathon

At the press conference at the Rijksmuseum today, the elite athletes of the TCS Amsterdam Marathon were presented. A favorite group will start this Sunday, including Birhanu Legese and Bernhard Koech. Khalid Choukoud wants to run as fast as possible to grab the Olympic limit. And Ethiopian Ashete Bekere wants to show something special in the capital of the Netherlands.

In Amsterdam's largest museum, Jurrie van der Velden of Global Sports Communication explains that there is a nice and broad group with a high level starting at the Platinum Label marathon. "The temperature looks good for Sunday with 12 to 13 degrees. The question is what the wind and rain will do. Looking at the field of participants, it looks good with top international and national competitors. There are several strong groups within the race with good pacers. We are also looking at how we can best provide the Dutch athletes," said the athlete manager.

Van der Velden gives the floor to Birhanu Legese, the fastest man in the field of participants with 2:02.28 behind his name. The Ethiopian athlete who won the Tokyo marathon twice is looking forward to Sunday. "I really want to run a fast time, with an eye on the Olympics," the 29-year-old marathon specialist said. His Kenyan opponent Bernhard Koech is also looking forward to attacking the course record of 2:03.39. He finished second in the Olympic Stadium in 2021 behind record holder Tamirat Tola, in a personal record of 2:04.09: "Amsterdam has a special place in my heart, I am running here for the fourth time and am as fit as I was two years ago." It promises to be exciting, however, as there are still six African marathon runners on the start list who have run in the 2.04.

In the women's event, eyes are on Ethiopia's Ashete Bekere. The 35-year-old athlete is an established name in the marathon world with a personal record of 2:17.58 (Tokyo, 2022). She already won the 2019 Berlin Marathon. At her first race in Amsterdam, she has high expectations, although she knows the course record of 2:17.20 (Almaz Ayana, 2022) is sharp. "If all conditions cooperate, I want to show something special," Bekere said. 21-year-old Tiruye Mesfin, with a personal record of 2:18.47, could be in for a surprise.

"My plan is to run really hard," Khalid Choukoud said of his participation in the TCS Amsterdam Marathon. "I really want to go to the Olympics for the second time. I want to thank the organization, they did everything they could to make a very nice second group with nice pacers. We are leaving at the Dutch Olympic limit of 2:08.10. I'm going to see how long I can keep it up," said the 37-year-old runner from The Hague.

Another person who is going to have a shot at the Olympic limit is Anne Luijten. The limit stands at 2.26.50 and her personal record is 2.30.59. "If everything falls my way, then the Olympic limit is possible. So far all my marathons have gone well and the preparation has gone well. I am really looking forward to my third marathon." The 29-year-old athlete is well prepared at the start on Sunday; she has already studied the course carefully. In addition, she won the Dutch Championship half marathon in Breda on October 1.
Jill Holterman (2:28.18) also wants to grab her chance at a ticket to the Paris Olympics. Unfortunately, Nienke Brinkman will not start. She cancelled earlier today because she is not fit enough to start. 

Live broadcast worldwide
The start of the TCS Amsterdam Marathon, organized by sports organization Le Champion, is Sunday at 9.00 hours in the Olympic Stadium. The TCS Amsterdam Marathon can be followed on Eurosport, Discovery+, SuperSport and Eurosport Asia.

For the full start list and more information, visit: www.tcsamsterdammarathon.eu