Less than three months after battling to a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games, Bashir Abdi is planning to chase the European record in the NN Rotterdam Marathon on 24 October.
Abdi is the second fastest European performer in history with his 2:04:49 clocking from the 2020 Tokyo Marathon where he finished second but the Belgian is looking to run even faster in Rotterdam next month with Kaan Kigen Ozbilen’s European record of 2:04:16 the foremost target.
"Rotterdam is the city of the marathon for me. It has a fast course and the organisation is always excellent. Additionally Rotterdam feels like a home match for me. I don't get that anywhere else. If I have any chance of beating the European record anywhere, then it is here but I will have to do my very best for it," said Abdi as quoted by the race organisers.
After a solid track career, Abdi stepped up to the marathon distance in 2018. He made his debut in Rotterdam and placed a creditable sixth in 2:10:46 when the event was held in its traditional springtime slot, a performance made all the more impressive by the fact Abdi fell at the start and grazed his knees in the melee.
Now coached by Gary Lough, the husband of Paula Radcliffe and also the coach of Mo Farah, Abdi broke his lifetime best in his next three marathons which culminated with a sub-2:05 performance in the Tokyo Marathon in March 2020 just before the spread of coronavirus shut down the sporting world.
And despite the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, Abdi carried this stellar form through to the rescheduled Games this summer by winning bronze to become the first Belgian to win a medal in the marathon since the great Karel Lismont in Montreal 1976.
This year’s edition of the Rotterdam Marathon marks the 40th edition of an event which has produced record-breaking performances in its long and illustrious history.
In 1988, Belayneh Dinsamo from Ethiopia set a world record of 2:06:50 which stood on the record books for a decade. On the women's side, Kenya's Tegla Loroupe also set a world record of 2:20:48 in the 1998 edition.
The course records now stand at 2:04:11 to Kenya’s Marius Kipserem on the men’s side and 2:18:58 to Ethiopia’s Tiki Gelana on the women’s side.