Some of the big stars to watch out for at the 2022 NN Rotterdam Marathon this weekend

April 08, 2022

Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands and Bashir Abdi of Belgium who took silver and bronze at the Tokyo Olympics behind Eliud Kipchoge will be some of the big stars to watch out for at the 41st edition of the NN Rotterdam Marathon on Sunday the 10th of April 2022. 

It was a sight to behold when the two namesakes urged each other on and plotted to overtake Kenya’s Lawrence Cherono at the Olympic Marathon in Sapporo to secure the remaining two podium positions after Kipchoge had run away with the first position.

But, this time around there will be more pressure on Nageeye from the home ground fans to ensure that the men’s title finally remains with a Netherlander. It remains to be seen whether the two will be seeking to break away from each other, or working together as a team again to ensure they both end up at the podium.

After the silver medal from the 2020 Olympic Games, Bashir came to Rotterdam and ran a new course record of 2.03:36, a personal, a Belgian, and a European record. This was also the fastest time ever run in the Netherlands.

However, Marius Kipserem of Kenya will be the most likely to cause an upset to the two Olympic medalists given that he lost the title last year to Bashir after finishing 2nd in 2:04:04. Kipserem is well-conversant with the course record having won the Rotterdam Marathon two times in the past; in 2016 and also in 2019. This could give him some confidence ahead of the race.

With these three protagonists in the race, one cannot help but wonder whether the course record will remain standing. Rotterdam has always happened in ideal weather and a flat course that is perfect for producing some of the world’s fastest times.

According to the race organizers, Sunday seems to be another perfect day for fast times with a calm and dry day. It will be partly cloudy and dry. The temperature will increase from 9 degrees Celsius at 10 AM to 12 degrees Celsius after 2 PM. The west wind blows moderately, with 3 Beaufort.

2019 Abu Dhabi marathon winner and the other Kenyan to watch out for on Sunday will be Reuben Kipyego who has the second-fastest time of 2:03:55 on the men’s start list. This is the time he ran last year on 16th May to finish 2nd at the Generali Milano Marathon.

The hopes of an Ethiopian win here will rest heavily on the shoulders of 30-year-old Dawit Wolde who has a personal best time of 2:04:27, a time he ran last year to finish in third place here at the Rotterdam Marathon. It remains to be seen whether the Volkswagen Prague Marathon champion will be able to upgrade his bronze position from last year or get to lower his personal best time.

In the women’s race, Kenya’s Stella Barsosio will be returning to defend her title which she won last year in a personal best time of 2:22:08. She is a well-experienced marathon runner with Sydney, Wroclaw, Zagreb, and Limassol half marathon titles under her name.

However, the fastest runner on paper is Ethiopia’s Haven Hailu who at the tender age of 24 years is currently ranked 29th by World Athletics Marathon rankings. She has a personal best time of 2:20:19, a time she ran at the Amsterdam marathon last year on 17th October. Although it is interesting to note that Hailu is yet to win a major race despite her amazingly fast times from 31:42 for the 10K to 1:09:57 for the half marathon. Perhaps this could be the right time for her time to finally get a big marathon title to her name.

The most decorated runner in the women’s elite field will be Rose Chelimo of Bahrain. The 2017 world marathon champion and the 2018 Asian Games marathon champion will be the other runner to watch out closely as well. Her personal best time of 2:22:51 is not that far from that of the defending champion, although hers was run some time back at the Boston Marathon in 2017.

Other women in the elite field include Nienke Brinkman of the Netherlands with a personal best time of 2:26.34 and Sara Ribeiro of Portugal with 2:26.39 as her personal best time.

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