Abdi Nageeye set a new benchmark for Dutch runners, achieving a remarkable time of 2:04:45 in the Rotterdam Marathon, while Ashete Bekere of Ethiopia claimed victory in the women’s event with a time of 2:19:30. The marathon, distinguished as a World Athletics Gold Label road race, unfolded on Sunday.

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Nageeye, a silver medalist at the Olympics, reclaimed his title from 2022, surpassing his previous national record by 11 seconds, which stood at 2:04:56. He crossed the finish line five seconds ahead of Ethiopia’s Amedework Walelegn, with Birhanu Legese of Ethiopia securing third place in 2:05:16.

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The race witnessed a fierce competition among a group of nine athletes who maintained a brisk pace, reaching 10km in 29:06 and 20km in 58:31. By the time they reached 35km at 1:42:54, only four contenders remained in the hunt for podium spots – Nageeye, Walelegn, Legese, and Kenya’s Kenneth Kipkemoi. However, Kipkemoi couldn’t keep up with the pace, allowing the leading trio to surge forward and reach 40km in 1:58:12.

 

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In an exhilarating finish, Walelegn and Nageeye pulled away from Legese, with Nageeye eventually making a decisive move to secure victory in 2:04:45.

In the women’s competition, Ashete Bekere led the charge alongside her compatriot Sisay Meseret Gola and Kenya’s Selly Chepyego and Viola Kibiwot. They maintained a strong pace throughout, achieving key milestones like 15km in 48:48 and 25km in 1:21:23.

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Bekere surged ahead, establishing an eight-second lead by the 30km mark at 1:37:48, which she maintained until the finish line, crossing it unchallenged in 2:19:30. Viola Kibiwot finished second in 2:20:57, followed by Selly Chepyego in third place with a time of 2:22:46.

Before the race commenced, a moment of silence honored Kelvin Kiptum, the world record-holder who passed away in February. Athletes paid tribute to Kiptum by wearing black ribbons in his memory.