No rest for Kipyego despite Amsterdam disappointment

Organisers of the Amsterdam Marathon slated for October 18, 2020 have instead organised a virtual race.

In Summary

•Bernard Kipyego training hard to improve his personal best and gain more podium finishes

•Two-time Amsterdam Marathon winner Kipyego had planned to compete in the Amsterdam Marathon before it was cancelled

•He hopes that the Covid-19 pandemic would come to an end so that he can resume normal training activities

Bernard Kipyego crosses the finish line in second place at the 2016 Tokyo Marathon in Japan. /COURTESY
Bernard Kipyego crosses the finish line in second place at the 2016 Tokyo Marathon in Japan. /COURTESY

Two-time Amsterdam Marathon champion Bernard Kipyego is targeting a monstrous 2021 after his quest for a hattrick of titles in the Dutch city on October 18 was frustrated at the last minute by the coronavirus pandemic.

Kipyego – who won the Amsterdam Marathon in 2014 and 2015 – is disappointed that his three-month intense training for this year's race has gone to waste.

“I had been training really hard although Covid-19 had affected our training camp preparations. Considering my past successes in the race, I was sure of a great performance. Even then, we move on to next year,” said Kipyego, who  is currently hard at work in training at Eldoret’s Kipchoge Keino Stadium.

The 45th TCS Amsterdam Marathon was cancelled by organisers Le Champion and the Municipality of Amsterdam due to rising Covid-19 infections in the Dutch capital.

“Public health is always our top priority, which is why we wanted nothing more than to allow the TCS Amsterdam Marathon to take place in a safe, responsible way with a modified edition this year. However, the development of the corona crisis over the past few weeks, both in the Netherlands and beyond, has made it impossible for this edition to go ahead,” Ron van der Jagt, Le Champion’s managing director, said.

In place of the marathon will be a virtual race to be held on Sunday.

The organisers further announced that the bib numbers for the race — which had attracted 140 athletes worldwide — would be transferred to the 46th edition in 2021.

Kipyego recorded a personal best of 2:06:22 in 2014 edition of the marathon and is already looking forward to 2021.

“Next  year, I want to improve on my personal best. I have my eyes on the world cross country championships too, where I want nothing less than victory,” he said.

However, he bemoaned the individual training that he had been forced to embark on.

“As a marathon runner, it is always important to train with other people. However, with Covid-19, we had to break camp and train individually, which was a bit limiting. With the targets I have for next year, I hope that the virus is exterminated so that we can resume normal activities,” he said.