A strong contingent of NN Running Team athletes hit the road for a crack at the 2023 TCS Amsterdam Marathon on Sunday (15 October). We take a look at our main contenders in the Dutch capital.
The vastly experienced Ashete Bekere will look to add another significant marathon title to her hugely impressive CV as the 2:17:58 performer bids for success in Amsterdam. The 35-year-old Ethiopian boasts an impressive 12-year marathon career and is a former winner in Valencia, Rotterdam, and Berlin over the 42.2km distance. Setting her lifetime best in Tokyo last year she returned to the Japanese capital earlier this year and clocked a slick 2:19:11 for third to show she will be a genuine podium threat in Amsterdam.
Further bolstering the NN Running Team challenge is Meseret Gola, who set her marathon PB of 2:20:50 when second at the 2022 Seville Marathon. In her most recent marathon outing, the 25-year-old Ethiopian placed a handy second in 2:22:12 in Osaka.
Birhanu Legese, the fourth fastest man in history over the marathon distance, will spearhead the NN Running Team contenders in a highly competitive men’s race. The 29-year-old Ethiopian is a supremely gifted performer as evidenced by his stunning PB time of 2:02:48 recorded when second to countryman and NN Running Team team-mate Kenenisa Bekele at the 2019 Berlin Marathon. A two-time former winner of the Tokyo Marathon, Legese will be pursuing success in Amsterdam boosted by a half marathon PB of 58:59 recorded in Barcelona earlier this year.
His fellow Ethiopian Bazezew Asmare has shown an aptitude for the streets of Amsterdam – finishing third here in 2022 recording a PB of 2:04:57 and the 27-year-old will once again be pursuing a podium spot.
Asrar Hiyrden completes a strong trio of Ethiopian challengers – his marathon best of 2:04:43 when winning the 2022 Seville Marathon marking him out as a significant threat in what will be a high-class race.
Also entered are the Dutch duo Richard Douma and Roy Hoornweg fresh off marathon PB performances earlier this year. Douma, a former European Championship 1500m fourth-place finisher, recorded 2:11:21 in Seville with Hoornweg registering 2:13:19 in Rotterdam.
Two NN Running Team athletes will be on pacing duty; Kenyan Noah Kipkemboi, a 2:07:32 marathoner at his best, and Ugandan Abel Sikowo.
Tell me more about the TCS Amsterdam Marathon
First contested in 1975, the Amsterdam Marathon is a World Athletics Platinum Label Marathon run on a pancake flat course ranked the fourth fastest in the world. Starting and finishing in the iconic Olympic Stadium, the course will lead runners through the heart of the Rijksmuseum, flanks the Amstel River and twice goes through Vondelpark to ensure a memorable experience for the competitors.
Ethiopian superstar Haile Gebrselassie claimed victory in the 2005 edition of the Amsterdam Marathon and in more recent years the NN Running Team has harvested much success in the women’s race. Recent NN Running Team victors include Tadelech Bekele in 2017-2018, Degitu Azimeraw in 2019, and last year Almaz Ayana, who set a course record of 2:17:20 on her way to a hugely impressive victory.
Some typical Dutch fall weather is predicted for race day on Sunday. Some light to moderate showers are predicted between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. The rest of the day segments with clouds and sun could alternate with some more rain predicted between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. in the afternoon. With a temperature between 8 and 10 degrees Celsius and a northwestern wind that reaches a strength of 4 to 5 (moderate to fresh breeze) on the Beaufort scale, conditions can be challenging for even the more experienced runners. For example, the section of the course from 16 km to 24 km, that runs right next to the Amstel River all the way to Oudekerk aan de Amstel, provides little protection from the wind.