An interesting battle for the national title is expected next Sunday at the 45th Amsterdam Marathon. Khalid Choukoud, who became the father of a daughter a month ago, is considered the favorite among his rivals.
The Olympic silver medalist Abdi Nageeye will run in New York next month, but otherwise the Amsterdam Marathon has attracted all Dutch toppers. So Khalid Choukoud, Michel Butter, Björn Koreman and Frank Futselaar sat side by side at the press conference today to look ahead at their mutual struggle. And then debutant Benjamin de Haan also becomes a man to keep an eye on, Bart van Nunen comes to set the pace as a hare and defends her title with the women Bo Ummels.
Without Nageeye, who normally stands out, the battle behind the strong broad group of African top runners is open when the starting gun is given at 9 o’clock in the Olympic Stadium. Butter didn’t dare to predict the national stage today, although according to him Khalid Choukoud is a size too big for the rest. “He is my absolute favorite.” Futselaar also pointed to the man who earlier this year in the Italian city of Siena ran an impressive 2:09:55 in difficult circumstances, but did not make it to the finish during the Games in Sapporo.
‘Finally we can go again’
Choukoud himself is more cautious. Above all, he is happy to run another marathon that is not full of corona restrictions. Sunday’s game feels like ‘normal’ again. Choukoud: ,,The last normal race I ran was the Eindhoven Marathon in 2019. Now I have the feeling: we can finally go again. We are evenly matched and I really don’t know if I’m the favourite.”
While Futselaar went to Sankt Moritz in Switzerland and sought an altitude chamber in his own country, Koreman trained for two weeks in his beloved Seefeld in Austria and Butter went to Font-Romeu in France, Choukoud stayed in the Netherlands during his entire preparation. Morocco, where he traditionally prepares for his races, he ignored this time. The reason? His wife was heavily pregnant and after giving birth a month ago, he didn’t want to miss anything from his daughter Hiba.
,,My wife said: now go to training camp. But I didn’t want to leave. It is precisely that growth at the beginning that is so special.” Fatherhood has hardly disrupted his preparations, he thinks. ,,She is such a sweet and calm girl. It is not about that.”
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According to his competitors, this brand new father is the favorite for the marathon title | Other sports
Source link According to his competitors, this brand new father is the favorite for the marathon title | Other sports