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Race news Enschede Marathon

23 April 2022, 7am

Enschede Marathon anniversary: every reason to celebrate

Enschede Marathon
Sun 24 April 2022

Enschede marathon start

Enschede Marathon has every reason to celebrate on 24 April. It will be 75 years since the first edition took place, making the event the oldest marathon in the Netherlands and in Western Europe.

Not only that, but participants can also enjoy a ‘real’ running race once again after two years of virtual events. “Runners are really looking forward to that, and so are we as an organisation,” says Sandra Melief, director of Enschede Marathon. “In addition, we have an absolute top field at the start this year.”

Since the very first edition on Saturday 12 July 1947, Enschede Marathon has developed into a multi-day recreational sports event. In the inaugural race there were 51 starters (33 of whom made it to the finish). Next Sunday more than 12,000 runners from home and abroad are expected to participate in distances from 5km to 42.195km. Among the 33 different nationalities, almost 1400 participants come from Germany. On Sunday the Humankind Kidsruns will take place in 10 different locations in the city for children from 3–12 years at distances of 1–4 km.

Enschede Marathon has not only developed enormously in terms of the size but also in the quality of the field with 40 top athletes contracted this year.

Next Sunday’s two biggest contenders, Fentahun Hunegnaw and Tadu Abate from Ethiopia, finished in the 2019 Amsterdam Marathon in 2:06:04 and 2:06:13 respectively. Their compatriot Abe Gashahun, who managed 59:46 in the Copenhagen Half Marathon last September could surprise. The chances of a new course record (bettering 2:07:20, dating from 2011) are good.

The same applies to the women’s course record, which was set at 2:27:00 in 2019. The top favourite, Maurine Chepkemoi from Kenya, ran 2:20:18 in the Amsterdam Marathon last year.

There is a bonus of 10,000 euros for the man and woman who run under the race record that was set on the multi-lap course during the NN Mission Marathon at Twente Air Base last year. For the men that is 2:04:30 from Eliud Kipchoge and for the women 2:25:59 from Katharina Steinruck. This should certainly be feasible for the women.

In the evening of Friday 22 April the second edition of ‘Get Ready’ will take place: an accessible lecture that the Enschede Marathon organises together with the University of Twente on the latest insights into running sport.

Although the Enschede Marathon is a top sporting event, the organization also wants to involve social runners the Menzis Twee van Enschede on Saturday evening, 23 April is a cheerful exercise event that everyone can participate in at their own pace (there is no timekeeping).” The 3.2km route leads right through Enschede city centre, starting and finishing at the atmospheric Oude Markt.

More than 1600 marathoners have now registered for the longest distance, double the number of previous years. Everyone seems to be happy that after two years there is finally a ‘real’ marathon again, but according to Melief there is more to it. “As an Enschede Marathon, we have been very visible over the past two years, while nothing was actually possible and nothing was allowed. In April last year we organized the NN Mission Marathon at Twente Airport with only 10 days of preparation. The absolute world’s best stood at the start with the aim of securing a starting ticket for the Olympic marathon in Tokyo. A month later, we organized the ‘Ready for Takeoff’ test event, with 5km and 10km races. Both times we proved the resilience and flexibility of our organization, and that is appreciated.” This resilience also applies to the sponsors, says Melief: “although we had to skip two editions, our sponsors remained loyal to us and we were even able to welcome new sponsors. That ensures continuity in the organisation and you radiate that to the participants.”

Since 2019 the start and finish have been located at the H.J. van Heekplein in the city centre. “Two years ago we noticed that there is so much more contact between runners, sponsors and the public. There is also plenty of entertainment along the route on Sunday, so that it will be an extra festive edition for everyone, runners, volunteers and spectators.”

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