Rotterdam Marathon

The Rotterdam Marathon is one of Europe's most popular annual marathons, a spring time classic that has seen numerous record times since it was first run in 1981.  Indeed, Runner's World magazine ranks the Rotterdam Marathon as one of the top 10 marathons in the world.

Like all great races, the Rotterdam Marathon, held in April each year, is not only popular as a mass participation event, it also attracts top athletes year after year, with its flat fast course and ideal weather conditions.  However, like everything in life, there are exceptions, with the 2007 event seeing unseasonably high temperatures that reached a high of 34°C, the warmest ever recorded in the city for the month of April.

Despite that one, freak occurrence, as of April 2010 six of the ten fastest marathon runners ever had run their fastest time in the Rotterdam Marathon, including William Kipsang, whose 2008 course record of 2:05:49 was broken the following year by Duncan Kibet – Kibet ran the third fastest time ever for 26.2 miles, clocking a scorching 2:04:27.

The record times started early in the race’s history – as long ago as 1985, legendary Portuguese runner Carlos Lopes ran 2:07:12 to set a course and world record.  That feat was repeated in 1988 when Ethiopain Belayneh Densamo finished in 2:06:50 to break the world record.  This was Densamo’s second victory in the race, and he went on to win a record four times.

Amazingly, since 1999, the men's race has been won by a Kenyan runner every year, including 2009, when Duncan Kibet set the current course record of 2:04:27.

The women's race has seen its own share of glory, beginning in 1983 when Rosa Mota of Portugal ran 2:32:27 to set a course record and announce herself as a runner of top class – she went on to win bronze in the 1984 Olympics, before crowning her career with a gold medal at the 1988 Olympics.

Another runner who has enjoyed great success in this race is Tegla Laroupe of Kenya.  She has won the race three times, her best race being 1998, her second victory, where she set a world record of 2:20:47, a time that still stands as the women's course record.