Wilson Chebet is taking on the Amsterdam Marathon for an impressive seventh year in a row. SPIKES puts ten quick-fire questions to the three-time champion and course record holder also known as ‘Mr Amsterdam’ .
How did the nickname 'Mr Amsterdam' come about?
“People started calling me ‘Mr Amsterdam’ after I won the race for the second time. I had also made my marathon debut there in 2010, where I finished second, so I had a good record in the race.
“Then in Kenya everybody started calling me ‘Mr Amsterdam’, so now I am ‘Mr Amsterdam’. I like it.”
Why did you decide to select Amsterdam for your marathon debut?
“There is no special reason. I originally planned to run Rotterdam, but I did not have enough time and so I ran Amsterdam.”
Why has Amsterdam proved such an attractive marathon for you?
“Organisers kept on requesting each time that I come back and every time I return I feel better and I feel more support.
“I like being in Amsterdam, I feel good there and I am growing with the event.”
Why would you encourage others to enter Amsterdam?
“Because the Amsterdam Marathon is a very nice course, a well-organised race and all runners can run good times in Amsterdam.”
What makes the course so special?
“The course is very nice, maybe tricky around mid-way, but overall it is very fast and with many good places to attack and run a good race.”
Chebet took three successive wins in Amsterdam between 2011 and 2013
What piece of advice would you give others entering the Amsterdam Marathon?
“Challenge yourself, run for something bigger than just running.”
Why do you feel you have been so successful there?
“I won Amsterdam three times, finished second once. All this success comes down to the group training and hard work with my group of 70-100 athletes in Kimumu, Eldoret.”
Have you become a real fan of Dutch culture?
“I’ve been supporting Holland in football World Cups and European Championships. I wanted them to win and do well [in the Euros].”
Do you have a favourite memory of running the Amsterdam Marathon?
“In 2013, all along the course, people were calling my nickname ‘Mr Amsterdam’ and were supporting me. It was very nice and gave me energy and strength.”
Where are you favourite places to visit in Amsterdam?
“The start and finish of the marathon and the Rijksmuseum area [The Netherlands’ national museum of arts and history]. I’d like to walk around the area and explore after the race.”