The 37th annual TCS Amsterdam Marathon began at the traditional site of Olympic Stadium on a brisk, overcast Sunday morning. Runners had to contend with some overnight rain as well as some light precipitation throughout.
Amidst the thousands of competitors winding through the unique track that goes through one of the world's most renowned cities, some of the usual suspects emerged in an historic, record-breaking day.
On the men's side, Wilson Chebet became the fifth man to win the prestigious race multiple times.
In the process, he eclipsed the course record set in 2010 by Ethiopia's Getu Feleke by four seconds in stunning defense of his win last year. Chebet finished second when the course record by Feleke was set. A record of runner-up and two wins in the past three years is pretty staggering, that's for sure.
As Larry Eder of Run Blog Run reported earlier this month, Meseret Hailu was a shocking upset victor at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships. On this day, the 22-year-old Ethiopian would run twice the distance and come out on top.
Hailu finished atop the women's group with a time of 2:21:09, which was just under a minute faster than the course record set by Tiki Gelana in last year's event.
Other notable finishers on the women's side were Leila and Liina Luik of Estonia, who are two-thirds of the Luik triplets along with their sister Lily. The former two finished sixth and eighth, respectively.
While the winners and top finishers will go down in the record books, there are other hidden stories in the field.
John Stamler may not have been a "top finisher" with the world-class athletes among him, but he accomplished what he wanted to at the outset.
Bensfriends.org was founded by a man named Ben Munoz, who suffered a rare type of stroke when he was 29 years old. He then started a non-profit support group to raise awareness on the issue of rare diseases.
Stamler ran the 2010 NYC Marathon less than six months after open heart surgery, and has been on a mission to spread awareness of Munoz's organization. After his inspiring time of 3:36:50 in New York City, Stamler raised $7,600 and Ben's Friends' membership has quadrupled to 24,000 people since.
Not only was it a stunning display of athleticism in Amsterdam, but Stamler's story shows the unique platform that sports can often facilitate to legitimately make a difference in the world.
Here is a final look at the Top 10 finishers for both the men and women.
2012 Amsterdam Marathon Top Finishers (via the event's official website):
|1||Wilson Chebet ||Kenya||02:05:41|
|2||Bentayehu Assefa ||Ethiopia||02:06:21|
|3||Abrha Gebretsadik ||Ethiopia||02:06:21|
|4||Feyisa Bekele ||Ethiopia||02:06:26|
|5||Abraham Girma ||Ethiopia||02:06:46|
|6||Mulugeta Wami ||Kenya||02:07:11|
|7||Gideon Kipketer ||Kenya||02:08:14|
|8||Elias Kemboi ||Kenya||02:08:50|
|9||Henri Sugut ||Kenya||02:09:06|
|10||Peter Kirui ||Kenya||02:09:14|
|2||Eunice Kirwa ||Kenya||02:21:41|
|3||Genet Getaneh ||Ethiopia||02:25:37|
|4||Diane Chepkemoi ||Kenya||02:27:31|
|5||Goitetum Haftu ||Ethiopia||02:33:55|
|6||Leila Luik ||Estonia||02:40:10|
|7||Gemma Rankin ||Great Britain ||02:41:50|
|8||Liina Luik ||Estonia||02:45:02|