First big city marathon in two years today; Eindhoven race to host 18,000 runners
One of the biggest cities in the Netherlands will host a marathon on Sunday for the first time in two years. Eindhoven will welcome a total of 18,000 runners, including those running the entire course and those participating in the relay spread out at various points. The 42.195-kilometer race will start on Mathildelaan at 10 a.m. Kenyan runner Martin Kosgey is one of the favorites, with a personal best of 2:06:41.
The course record in the Noord-Brabant city is held by Dickson Chumba. The Kenyan set the record in 2012 with a time of 2:05:46. Another Kenyan, Georgina Rono, holds the record for the fastest time among women. She completed the 2011 edition of the race in 2:24:33.
All major marathons in the Netherlands were canceled last year due to the coronavirus crisis. It also turned out to be impossible to organize a marathon this past spring, but the marathons of Eindhoven, Amsterdam (October 17) and Rotterdam (October 24) are expected in rapid succession.
The participants and almost all spectators will not be required to show a coronavirus pass. Only those who want to watch the start and finish of the Amsterdam Marathon at the Olympic Stadium will be required to demonstrate that they have been vaccinated against Covid-19, or that they either recovered from or tested negative for the coronavirus infection. This also applies along the Coolsingel, where the Rotterdam Marathon will begin and end.
Next Sunday will also be the 30th edition of the Leiden Marathon, with approximately 7,000 participants expected. The organization still has room for more runners and is offering the opportunity for late registration on Saturday and Sunday. "We are not going to reach 10,000, which means that we will be loss-making," said event chair Tjeerd Scheffer. "But we will not fall into bankruptcy. We are especially happy that after three editions canceled because of coronavirus, we now can hold our thirtieth marathon. It will be a bit of a stripped-down version, because we have to monitor the costs, but it makes sense that we still host [the race]."
The organization of the Leiden Marathon invited Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge to join them, so that they could experience for themselves how sports events are organized during the coronavirus era. "We received an answer from Rutte, definitively, via his secretary. It stated that unfortunately he will be unable to make use of our invitation for agenda [and] technical reasons. And we understand that quite well," said Scheffer. "We have not heard anything from De Jonge. Perhaps he will suddenly run under a different name on Sunday."
Reporting by ANP.