Thursday, 19 April 2012

Manuel Busto, winner at the Waterland Marathon

Last weekend was held at Amsterdam, organised by the KV Viking Amsterdam (club of the great Edwin de Nijs), the Waterland Marathon, competition included in the ICF World Classic Marathon Series. In a chilly but sunny day, the channels around the dutch city were the scene for a high quality race, where some of the greatests marathon paddlers came to fight for one of the first victories of the season.

© Nico Jankowski
From the start itself, the dutch Robin Koenders took the lead and set the pace, having on the wash a bunch of paddlers including three world champions, like they are Manuel Busto, Istvan Salga and Jorge Alonso, not to mention the always strong René Olsen. Finally Koenders felt the pressure that he was putting to himself with his pace and left the lead, where the two Spaniards managed to make a smaller group by tightening the rope. Just five members kept on the fight, including Busto, Alonso, Salga and the Danish Olsen and Nicolai Blach. These last two paddlers fell off the group and were paddling behind for a few kilometres, but finally René Olsen managed to come back while Blach had to give up and faced a solo paddle to the finish line.

At this point, and planning that probably the podium would be for the three world champions, Busto boosted at the last portage and made suffer his rivals. Olsen finally lost the wash and the top three faced the final sprint with Busto on the lead, position that he managed to keep in a long tough sprint, with Istvan Salga second and Jorge Alonso third after being pushed out of the wash by Busto and Salga impressive strength. Fourth position went finally to René Olsen, fifth to his compatriot Nicolai Blach and sixth was the first dutch, the local Bram Brandjes, who won the sprint at the following group. With this victory, Manuel Busto gets his first 100 points of the season at the ICF World Series, which are right now leaded by the Belgian Jan Laenen, winner at the Devizes to Westminster regatta in England last April and 13th at this Waterland marathon..

© Nico Jankowski
At the Women race, the Spanish Pilar del Villar (this writer's coach, by the way) made good her rythmic pace along the course and claimed victory with almost two minutes over the Dutch Hedy Pol, second, and the German Pia Ruhm, third.

The Masters also made the long course with the seniors and showed the high level that this category is showing race after race all around the world, like the do at the ICF official championships. The winner was Olaf Heijne, with a magnificent time of 1h49'16" (12th position overall). Heijne, who two months ago had won also the International Regatta of Pas de Calais (FRA), combined over 2.000 and 200 metres, which talks about his good performance on every distance.

You can check the results of the Waterland Marathon at this link.

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