Though Canadian fans of the marathon will mostly be interested in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon this Sunday, many marathon devotees will be up even earlier to catch Kenenisa Bekele, often referred to as the best distance runner in the world, contest the world marathon record set by Eliud Kipchoge at Berlin on September 16, in the 43rd running of the TCS Amsterdam Marathon.
Among his many achievements, Bekele won the 2016 BMW Berlin Marathon, and holds the world record in the 5,000m. He is 36.
Amsterdam’s flat course, which starts and finishes in the historic Olympic stadium built for the 1928 Summer Olympics, is one of the fastest in the world, and many are speculating that Bekele might break Kipchoge’s world record. You can see what Bekele himself has to say about it in this Youtube interview.
Last year’s winner, Lawrence Cherono of Kenya set a course record of 2:05:09, and the five fastest runners all went under 2:06. Tadelech Bekele of Ethiopia, winner of the women’s race, ran a personal best of 2:21:54, less than a minute off the course record set by Meseret Hailu in 2012. Bekele later lowered her PB to 2:21:40 with her third-place finish at London in April. This year’s race will see five women with personal bests of under 2:30. Both Cherono and Bekele will be back on Sunday to defend their titles.
With participation capped at 16,500, Amsterdam is big but not huge, and though it may not attract quite as many top names as the world majors, this year’s roster is the fastest in its history, with seven men with personal bests of sub-2:08.
The marathon starts at 9:30 a.m. local time (3:30 a.m. ET, 6:30 a.m. PT). You can watch the livestream of the TCS Amsterdam Marathon on the site, here.
For a map of the course, click here.