Exactly 5050 were at the Kattendijkdok on Sunday morning, that’s where the Antwerp Marathon supported by Port of Antwerp-Bruges started again. The fog had lifted and made way for glorious sunshine. This was not only good news for those getting ready in the starting area, but also for the spectators who slowly – and in increasingly larger numbers – came out as the day progressed.
The course of both the marathon and half marathon meandered through the city. The marathon runners left the city centre via the quays heading first to Hoboken (with a nice passage on Schoonselhof) and Kiel and then – like the other runners – returned through the city centre via Berchem and Zurenborg to Eilandje. The finish was under the MAS. Those who also used this city marathon to feast their eyes saw the Port Authority building, Palace of Justice and numerous other Antwerp landmarks along the way. Or the port container construction of the Port of Antwerp-Bruges cheering lane, on the corner of De Keyserlei, where a DJ provided stimulating beats and vibes.
The top runners were perhaps a little less concerned about this. Very shortly after the start of the marathon, there was a clear separation in the front: Julien Calandreau had a lead of three-quarters of a minute after 10 kilometres and he kept steadily extending that lead. The numbers two and three still played leapfrog, but Calandreau had taken flight and won in 2:29:12. Ten minutes later, Jonas Mertens came second (2:39:37), Jeffrey Van Agtmaal completed the podium (2:40:21).
Dutch Ada Geuze was the fastest woman in 3:06:24, ahead of Els Buyl and Elisabeth Van Rompay. Finally, in the relay marathon, victory went to Team Cocom. This time, Antwerp’s mayor Bart De Wever needed more than 4 hours and 45 minutes (4:47:31 to be precise) to complete his marathon.
In the half-marathon, a group of four led the race for a long time. The group slowly thinned out and finally Ramdan Snoussi and Ward Van Der Kelen were the only two that went into the last 500m. Snoussi squeezed out a powerful sprint and won in 1:04:58. Van Der Kelen finished three seconds later (1:05:01). Simon Mestdagh finished third (1:05:19). In the women’s race, Nina Lauwaert was unbeatable. She finished in 1:12:35, with a big lead on Elise Van Raemdonck and Ruth Van Campen.
Davy De fauw, former football player for Zulte Waregem and other teams, ran the half marathon in 1:41:18. Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden finished in just over two hours. At 15:40, after running for 5:35, the last finisher crossed the line and was honoured by the organisation for his perseverance.