Chirchir leads strong Kenya women’s team to Dutch road race

Evaline Chirchir will seek to overcome her failure to make the Kenya team to the World Championships by winning this year’s 10km Dam tot Damloop in the Netherlands on Sunday.

The unique race run between two cities – Amsterdam and Zaandam – has a tradition of starting the women’s race earlier than the men’s and see who crosses the finish line first.

As has been tradition at this 10-mile race between Amsterdam and Zaandam, the women’s field sets off 6:04 – the difference between the men’s and women’s course records – ahead of the men’s field. The first athlete to finish, man or woman, will receive a 6,000 U.S. Dollars.

“I was hopeful to run in Doha for the Kenya team, but I was not lucky to make the team. Now I must focus on winning in the Netherlands on Sunday,” said Chirchir.

Following her 1:06:22 best time from Copenhagen Half Marathon last week, Chirchir will start as the favorite. The Kenyan has also clocked some impressive times at 10km this year, including 30:43 in Valencia and 31:17 in Brunssum, and will be keen to improve on her fifth-place finish from last year.

Irene Cheptai, the 2017 world cross-country champion, recently clocked a season’s best of 31:27 over 10km, while Jip Vastenburg carries the Dutch hopes.

The women’s race record of 50:31 has been held by Ingrid Kristiansen since 1987, but last year’s winner Lonah Salpeter came close to it with 50:45.

Former 1500m specialist Chala Regasa of Ethiopia set a 10km PB of 27:23 earlier this year and will be making his Dam tot Damloop debut. His compatriot Solomon Berihu, aged 19, is another strong contender and has set PBs of 13:02.08 for 5000m and 27:02.26 for 10,000m this year.

Ethiopian Olympian Ayele Abshero, a 2:04:23 marathon runner, finished third in this race back in 2010 in a PB of 45:33, but doesn’t seem to be in that same kind of form this year. Kenya’s John Langat also returns to Amsterdam in a bid to do better than his 12th-place finish last year.

The weather forecast for Sunday morning seems ideal with temperatures between 16-18C and the wind on the runners’ backs.

Source: XINHUA