Eliud Kipchoge looks forward to ‘beautiful race’ at NN Mission Marathon
“Sunday, personally, I will be running a very beautiful race,” he said in a pre-race press conference. “I call it beautiful because we are in need and tough times during the pandemic. “I want to run a beautiful race to show the world that actually we are on a huge, huge transition towards a great future.”
Mission Marathon/ Photo/NN Running
Twente Airport in the Netherlands on Sunday will see the Kenyan stretch his legs over 26.2 miles ahead of the defence of his Olympic title in Tokyo
Over the years the Twente Airport near the city of Enschede in the eastern Netherlands has been used by famous airplanes such as the Hawker Hunter and Gloster Meteor. But on Sunday (April 18) the world marathon record-holder Eliud Kipchoge will take to the runway in the NN Mission Marathon.
The airport course was chosen after the original venue of Hamburg was ruled out due to the pandemic. It will be Kipchoge’s first race since he finished a disappointing eighth in the London Marathon in October and he is looking forward to getting back to winning ways.
“Sunday, personally, I will be running a very beautiful race,” he said in a pre-race press conference. “I call it beautiful because we are in need and tough times during the pandemic.
“I want to run a beautiful race to show the world that actually we are on a huge, huge transition towards a great future.”
Kipchoge, 36, will tackle an eight-lap, spectator-free course and his rivals include 2012 Olympic marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda, who has a PB of 2:06:33.
Laban Korir of Kenya is also in the field and has a best of 2:05:54, while Filex Chemonges holds the Ugandan record with 2:05:12.
In addition, Augustine Choge, the 2006 Commonwealth 5000m champion, is hoping to complete his first marathon after DNF’ing in Chicago in 2018.
In total around 50 athletes from 20 different countries will be attempting to gain the Olympic qualifying standards of 2:11:30 for men and 2:29:30 for women in an event organisers have dubbed ‘the fastest way to Tokyo’.
In the women’s race, former New York Marathon podium finisher Sara Moreira of Portugal takes on Kenyan Gladys Chesir. Moreira’s PB of 2:24:49 is slightly quicker than Chesir’s, although the fastest woman in the race is Mexican Madai Perez, who has a best of 2:22:59 but is now aged 41.
So, can Kipchoge return to his best form? Was his defeat in London part of a decline or merely a blip? His sub-two-hour marathon in Vienna unfolded in autumn 2019 but in London five months ago he finished eighth in 2:06:49 in a race won by Shura Kitata. Later he blamed an ear blockage for his under-par run.