Rotterdam Marathon: Kelvin Kiptum dearly missed as Ethiopians sweep race

Rotterdam Marathon: Kelvin Kiptum dearly missed as Ethiopians sweep race

Joel Omotto 13:42 - 14.04.2024

The full impact of Kelvin Kiptum’s death was felt at the Rotterdam Marathon as Kenyans were shown dust in a race the departed marathon great was set to make history in.

Kelvin Kiptum’s death was strongly felt at the Rotterdam Marathon when Somali-born Dutchman Abdi Nageeye won the 2024 edition on Sunday 14 April.

On a day when Kiptum was supposed to have made history by becoming the first man to run an official marathon under two hours, his absence gave way to others and it was Nageeye who was celebrating victory on home soil.

Ethiopians Amedework Walelegn and Birhanu Legese completed the podium after coming home in second and third places respectively.

Nageeye clocked 2:04:45 for victory while Walelegn arrived home five seconds later in 2:04:50 with Legese stopping the clock at 2:05:16.

It was a tough end to the race between Nageeye and Walelegn who were neck-and-neck in the final two kilometres, the Dutchman just hanging behind his Ethiopian rival, before striking in the final stretch to win the race to the delight of home fans.

The two, alongside Legese, had taken an early lead with Kenya’s Kenneth Kipkemoi unbale to match their pace. They, however, shook off Legese and stayed close until when it mattered most.

Kipkemboi, Kiptum’s best friend who had promised to run the race of his life in honour of his departed colleague, could only manage fourth place, being the best-placed Kenyan after clocking 2:05:43.

Enock Onchari was the second-best Kenyan runner in the Dutch city, finishing fifth in 2:06:07.

In the women’s category, Ethiopia’s Ashete Bekere claimed victory in 2:19:30 followed by Violah Kibiwot (2:20:57) and Kenya’s Sally Kaptich (2:22:46).

The race had started with a minute’s silence in honour of Kiptum with his wife Asenath Rotich presented with a special trophy courtesy of Zepp Health, the company behind the AmazFit Cheetah Pro watch.

All runners in Rotterdam also proudly donned a black ribbon in memory of Kiptum while his running number (No. 1) had been retired by race organisers in honour of the fallen world marathon record holder.

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