Monday, March 14, 2011

37th ABN AMRO CPC Run The Hague - Lelisa Desisa makes an impressive sprint to victory


Lelisa Desisa Benti has claimed the 37th ABN AMRO CPC Run The Hague with a masterful final sprint. The talented 21-year-old Ethiopian stayed two seconds ahead of his persistent compatriot Bekele Azmeraw during the nail-biting finish: 59.37 against 59.39 minutes.

The winning time was the second best of this season. Only the Kenyan Deriba Merga (59.25) was faster in a half marathon in 2011.

The five best athletes in The Hague finished within an hour. The top four did that in a personal best: besides Desisa and Bekele, they were the Kenyan Peter Kirui (59.40) and the Ethiopian Ayele Abshero (59.42). Number 5, Lucas Rotich from Kenya, debuted in 59.44.

The fastest woman, the Kenyan Filomena Chepchirchir, also surpassed herself: she stepped over the line in 34th place in 1.09.06; that is the seventh best time of this year.

Koen Raymaekers, the Dutch number one, achieved three personal bests during the ABN AMRO CPC Run The Hague: at the 10 kilometre (28.43), the 15 kilometre (43.32) and the half marathon (1.02.09). Raymaekers took twelfth place.

"We have just seen a super race: five times that are in the top six of the 2011 world rankings. Of course we would have loved to have had the fastest time. With such a strong field that was an absolute possibility. Only the chemistry was lacking in the leading group at the start of the race, which meant valuable seconds were lost. You can't win back those seconds later in the race'' analysed organiser Mario Kadiks.

Lelisa Desisa Benti ("the last two names are my father and grandfather's") was happy with his triumph and pb. "I'll be back in The Hague next year and I'll break the world record then. I know that for sure!"

Much initiative was expected from the favourite Samuel Kitwara. The Kenyan was not able to deliver on his role as the antagoniser. He suffered back problems and fell back to seventh place (1.00.26).

Desisa applied his strength best in the tactically run race and flew to win in the last few metres. He was quite happy with the weather conditions; dry just over 12 degrees Celsius at the start. "I only found the wind at the end of the race cold."

With his top time Desisa climbed to 28th place in the all-time world rankings. He suffered a setback earlier this year due to a car accident. "An airbag hit my chest. That was why I only came third in the Puerto Rico 10K. But I am the number one here now. This is the best win I have achieved in my career up to now."

Koen Raymaekers was happy and satisfied about his performance in the ABN AMRO CPC Run The Hague. He is well on track for the Rotterdam Marathon on Sunday, April 10. That is when he hopes to win a nomination for a place in the 2012 Olympic Games in London with a time of 2.10.00.

And still Raymaekers had his doubts in The Hague. "After about 20 kilometres I suffered from cramps. I didn't dare sprint for a better ranking and time. Everything went through my head in that phase: I had had such a good day and would limp over the finish line because of the cramp. Without the cramp I would definitely have run faster and come in under the 1.02.''

With his time of 1.02.09 Raymaekers climbed to eleventh place in the national all-time rankings. In The Hague he was ahead of Patrick Stitzinger (13th in 1.03.17) en Michel Butter (17th, 1.04.13).

Mariska Kramer qualified with a pb of 1.14.24 as best Dutch woman; ahead of Lindsay van Marrewijk (1.16.19) and Inge de Jong (1.18.13).