THE HAGUE (SONNA):Somali-born Belgian athlete Bashir Abdi claimed the victory in the 40th edition of the Rotterdam Marathon in a new European record of two hours three minutes and 35 seconds on Sunday.
Kenyan Stella Barsosio won the women’s race in a personal best of 2:22:08. The course record of Ethiopian Tiki Gelana, 2:18:58 in 2012, remained out of reach.
After 30 kilometers, Kenyan Marius Kipserem ran away from his competitors. However, the 2016 and 2019 Rotterdam Marathon winner was unable to maintain his pace and was overtaken by Abdi and Ethiopian Dawit Wolde.
Abdi then took the initiative, left Kipserem and Wolde behind and finished solo on the Coolsingel street. The 32-year-old Belgian broke the European record held by Turkish athlete Kaan Kigen Ozbilen, who ran 2:04:16 in Valencia on December 1, 2019.
Close to Belgium, the Rotterdam Marathon felt like a home race, the Belgian said to Dutch national broadcaster NOS afterwards. “The spectators were awesome,” Abdi said. “They shouted my name and I had to do something back, by winning.”
Abdi, who captured Olympic bronze eleven weeks ago, also set a new course record, breaking the time of Kipserem of 2:04:11 in the 39th edition of the Rotterdam Marathon two years ago. Last year the event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.