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Elite runners presented in the unique setting of the Rijksmuseum

Yesterday, the leading contenders in Sunday’s TCS Amsterdam Marathon were presented at a press conference at the Rijksmuseum. Solomon Deksisa and Tadu Abate, both favourite to win and beat the course record of 2:04:06, said they were pleased with their training and optimistic about their chances. Abdi Nageeye, also on top form, will be competing for a place on the international podium. He is odds-on favourite to win the national marathon title in the capital. Linet Masai, favourite among the women, is looking to finish in under 2:23:00.

Thanks to this year’s partnership between Mizuno, the main sponsor of the TCS Amsterdam Marathon, and the Rijksmuseum, event organiser, Le Champion, was able to present the marathon elite to the national and international media in a unique setting. The prestigious lineup included Ethiopian top favourites Solomon Deksisa and Tadu Abate, former 10,000 metres world champion, Linet Masai, and the fastest Dutch marathon runner, Abdi Nageeye. 

Deksisa (25) and Abate (23) will probably end up fighting it out between them. With a PR of 2:04:40, Deksisa is the fastest in the field and will be looking to beat the already impressive course record of 2:04:06. Deksisa: “I love the fact that the course is completely flat.” The current course record was set in 2018 by Kenyan Lawrence Cherono.

Dutch Abdi Nageeye (30) is ready to do battle with the favourites, and is even hoping to place in the top three. His training has progressed well, he has improved all of his PRs this year and is injury free. Nageeye: “Above all, my mental approach is stronger thanks to my coach Patrick Sang. In the past, I would automatically assume that others could outrun me. But after winning the strongly contended half marathon in Japan, I know I can hold my own.” On Sunday, Nageeye will also be aiming to beat his own Dutch marathon record of 2:06:17, which he set in Rotterdam earlier this year.

With two-time winner (2017, 2018) and women’s race favourite Ethiopian Tadelech Bekele having pulled out, the women’s title is up for grabs. Of the four runners competing to take her place, Linet Masai (29) is the most well known. The fast Kenyan was crowned 10,000 metres world champion in 2009 and placed fifth in Amsterdam last year, with a fast finish time of 2:23:46. Masai: “I hope to improve on the course record and set a new PR that will put me among the world’s top.” The women’s course record of 2:21.09 was set in 2012 by Ethiopian Meseret Hailu. With her PR of 2:22:29, Mimi Belete (31) also has excellent credentials to win, as does Azmera Gebru (24), who last year finished third in Amsterdam and whittled her PR down to 2:22:52 in Toronto. The race for the national women’s title is expected to end in a tense duel between experienced runner Miranda Boonstra and debutant Bo Ummels.

After the press conference, the media photographed the athletes in front of Rembrandt’s The Night Watch as part of the Rijksmuseum’s year-long celebration of Rembrandt in 2019. And now for the countdown to the start of the 44th TCS Amsterdam Marathon at 9:30 in the Olympic Stadium on Sunday, when the athletes will demonstrate their own mastery.

Live broadcast
The marathon will be broadcast live to 190 million households in 120 countries. The race will be shown on Eurosport 1, Ziggo Sport, NH Sport, AT5 and live streamed on www.tcsamsterdammarathon.nl/en and the event’s Facebook page. The Mizuno Half Marathon, the TCS 8K and several Kids Runs will also take place on Sunday.