Abdi Nageeye wins the Rotterdam Marathon (© AFP / Getty Images)
Olympic silver medallist Abdi Nageeye produced a well-timed finish to win the Rotterdam Marathon, his first career victory over the classic distance, while Ethiopia’s Haven Hailu won the women’s contest in convincing fashion at the World Athletics Elite Label road race on Sunday (10).
The two races played out in contrasting ways. A large lead pack formed early on in the men’s race as they passed through 10km in 29:29 and half way in 1:02:16. The pack started to whittle itself down in the second half though, and by 30km – reached in 1:28:31 – just seven men remained in the group: Nageeye, Olympic bronze medallist Bashir Abdi, Ethiopia’s Leul Gebreselassie, Kenya’s Dominic Kiptarus, Reuben Kiprop Kipyego, Kenneth Kipkemoi and Philemon Kacheran.
Kipyego and Gebreselassie continued to push the pace in the closing stages and it was enough to drop most of the athletes left in the lead pack. Abdi, who set a European record of 2:03:36 when winning at last year’s rescheduled Rotterdam Marathon in October, started to drift behind just before 40km, leaving Nageeye, Kipyego and Gebreselassie to battle it out for the podium places.
Kipyego couldn’t quite match the finishing pace of Gebreselassie and Nageeye as the duo sprinted for the line. In the end Nageeye just edged ahead to cross the line in 2:04:56, taking more than a minute off the Dutch record he set in this same city in 2019. Gebreselassie was given the same time in second place, the fifth sub-2:05 clocking of his career, while Kipyego took third in 2:05:12, 11 seconds ahead of Abdi.
In the women’s race, Ethiopia’s Haven Hailu and Kenyan duo Daisy Cherotich and Stella Barsosio made an early break, reaching 10km in 32:55 – bang on pace to challenge the course record of 2:18:58 set 10 years ago by 2012 Olympic champion Tiki Gelana.
They were unable to maintain that pace for too much longer, but still reached the half-way point in a swift 1:09:56, just inside 2:20 pace. Almost two minutes behind them, relative newcomer Nienke Brinkman of the Netherlands was running in no-woman’s land.
A few kilometres later, Hailu broke away from Cherotich and Barsosio. Cherotich held on for a little longer than her compatriot, but by 35km – which Hailu reached in 1:57:34 – Brinkman had moved up to second place.
Brinkman continued to make up ground in the closing stages, but Hailu’s lead was safe and the 24-year-old crossed the finish line in 2:22:01. It was the second-fastest time of her career, after the 2:20:19 PB she set in Amsterdam last year, but her first marathon victory to date.
Brinkman, who only took up running in 2020, was rewarded with a huge PB of 2:22:51 in second place, breaking the Dutch record set in 2003 by Lornah Kiplagat. Kazakhstan’s Zhanna Mamazhanova finished well to take third place in 2:26:54, taking more than a minute off the national record that was set back in 1987.
1 Haven Hailu (ETH) 2:22:01
2 Nienke Brinkman (NED) 2:22:51
3 Zhanna Mamazhanova (KAZ) 2:26:54
4 Munkhzaya Bayartsogt (MGL) 2:29:25
5 Tristin Van Ord (USA) 2:29:32
6 Carolina Wikstrom (SWE) 2:29:51
7 Alisa Vainio (FIN) 2:29:56
8 Daisy Cherotich (KEN) 2:30:42
1 Abdi Nageeye (NED) 2:04:56
2 Leul Gebreselassie (ETH) 2:04:56
3 Reuben Kiprop Kipyego (KEN) 2:05:12
4 Bashir Abdi (BEL) 2:05:23
5 Kenneth Kipkemoi (KEN) 2:06:22
6 Rodgers Ondati Gesabwa (KEN) 2:09:40
7 Abida Ezamzami (MAR) 2:09:52
8 Philemon Kacheran (KEN) 2:10:12