Wilfred van Holst from Assen wins Klazienaveen half marathon. ‘Too hot for a top time’

Wilfred van Holst from Assen and Mireille Baart from Wageningen won the half marathon of the Drenthe Loopfestijn on Saturday afternoon. In the 10 kilometers, Gerard Vos (Appingedam) was the fastest in the men’s race and Heleen Weinans from Groningen in the women’s race.

It is no surprise that this foursome returned home with gold. On paper, they were favourites. Van Holst clocked 1 hour, 11 minutes and 4 seconds, Baart covered the 21.1 kilometers in 1 hour, 22 minutes and 31 seconds. Vos’ finish time on the 10,000 meters was 34 minutes and 35 seconds, Weinans took 42 minutes and 40 seconds to cover this distance.

These winning times are well above the competition records set in 2011 and 2012. They are in Kenyan hands. Fast Kenyans were not behind the starting line this time. At the time when they set the records, the prize pool was a lot bigger than it is today. “We can no longer save the content from then,” said organization chairman Jan Sorgdrager.

‘Too hot for a top time’

At the stroke of half past three the half marathon started. Under a cloudless sky, 101 men and 29 women set out. Their performances were also watched from excellently filled terraces. Not a cloud in the sky and well above 20 degrees; nice for the terrace lover, but not for someone who has to run more than 21 kilometers.

“It’s too hot for a top time. I’m going to walk relaxed, nice run for the win”, Wilfred van Holst had said shortly before the starting gun. Mireille Baart almost sounded something similar: ,,It’s warm. I’m going to walk and enjoy the course and the crowd. Get away from it all in beautiful Drenthe.”

Shortly after the starting shot, Van Holst, Olfert Molenhuis and Thijmen van der Loop made a gap. Van der Loop was the first to drop out. The Stad-Groninger would not even reach the finish line. In the last part, Molenhuis also fell behind. “At about 7 kilometers my calf cramped. I was able to keep it under control for a long time, but in those last kilometers I couldn’t push off properly with my left leg. Even thought about getting out, but that’s not in my nature,” said the Assenaar.

The quiet start Leon Sanderman (Rijssen) took advantage of Molenhuis’ physical problem and saw his advance rewarded with second place (1.11.46), Molenhuis crossed the finish line in 1.12.2 in third place.

‘Heavier than expected’

Winner Van Holst: ,,It was even harder than expected. I should be able to run 1.04 or 1.05, but that was really not possible in this weather.” Mireille Baart saw Saskia Schutte (Veessen), last year’s winner, finish second in 1:32:34. Lisanne Langerijs finished third in 1:40:05. The blond Schöninghsdorfse had started despite a hamstring injury. “The blood just creeps where it can’t go. This was not pace. But when the hamstring is tense, you can do what you want, but there is no speed,” said the number two of last year.

The 4 miles was the final element of this 38th edition of the Drenthe Loopfestijn. Home favorite Yntze Wardenburg (24.01 minutes) and Emmen’s Mirjam Veldhuijzen (27.44 minutes) won this race over 6437 meters.