No Kenyan Victory In Controversial Utrecht Marathon

Race organizers were accused of racism and nationalism.

Michael Butter of Holland proved victorious at the Utrecht Marathon on Monday. It was the first time a non-Kenyan had won the marathon in four years. Butter’s finishing time was 2:17:35. The Dutchman overtook Mutai Kipkorir on Kenya in the final straight. Olfert Molenhuis of Holland placed third.

The marathon had generated headlines last week when it was announced by organizers that the prize structure would favor Dutch citizens. First place was 100 euros, while the first Dutch citizen to cross the line would collect 10,000 euros. Defending against charges of racism and nationalism, organizers said the prize structure was to incentivize Dutch runners to compete with East Africans–the usual winners of cash races in the small European country.

Race director Louran van Keulen said the charges were politically driven. “There is talk of discrimination, racism, oh, yes,” he said. “It is too bad about all the politics.”

Gert-Jan van Wijk, a businessman working in Nairobi, Kenya, had promised to make up the difference in prize money in the event a Kenyan had won the race.

For More: USA Today

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