The oldest marathon of the Netherlands
The Enschede Marathon is the oldest marathon in the Netherlands and Western Europe. At the first edition, in July 1947, 51 runners took part in the running competition. Today, almost 11,000 participants are participating and the number is still growing. The course is known as very fast and Enschede is therefore, together with Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Eindhoven in the top 5 of Dutch marathons. Every year, around 80,000 loyal spectators stand along the trail to encourage the runners. Traditionally, around 950 enthusiastic and committed volunteers have helped make the day a success. Thanks to their many years of experience (some of them more than 30 years!), The volunteers of the Enschede Marathon make an important contribution to the realization of a very successful and successful event.
In August 1946, during the European championships at the IAAF Congress, it was decided that an athletics competition between the Netherlands and Czechoslovakia would take place in Enschede. Delegations from both countries meet to prepare for the competition. At the Czechoslovak delegation, Ir. Bukovsky, also the organizer of the Kosice Marathon, played an important role. It is decided to run a marathon during this country competition. Eventually, the race takes place on Saturday, July 12, 1947. 51 marathon runners participate. Of them, 33 succeed in the finish in the G.J. from Heekpark. The Fin Eero Riikonen is the winner with a time of 2: 44.13 and at the finish he greets Fanny Blankers-Koen. The Fin finishes nine minutes earlier than the first Dutchman Joop Overdijk, who becomes Dutch champion and finishes fifth. The competition is a huge success; it is believed that this cannot be a one-off, and this is the birth of the oldest marathon in the Netherlands.
Since 1947, the marathon takes place every two years. From 1991 this cycle is accelerated to an annual period. In 2000, the competition was canceled due to the fireworks disaster that took place on May 13, 2000 in the residential area of Roombeek. The Enschede Marathon course record is still in the name of Stephen Kiprotich with a time of 02.07.20. The fastest woman is Caroline Chepkwony with a record of 2.27.00 (2019). The 2020 and 2021 editions have been canceled due to the global pandemic. In 2021 Enschede Marathon organized the qualifying competition for the Olympic Games at Twenthe Airport on April 18. Future gold medalist in the Tokyo marathon winner Eluid Kipchoge ran Enschede's race record of 02.04.30 and the German Katharina Steinruck ran 02.25.59.