Road and Trail Runner Nienke Brinkman Runs 2:22, Takes Second at the 2022 Rotterdam Marathon

In just her second marathon ever, Dutch phenom Nienke Brinkman sets the Dutch women’s marathon record.

By on April 10, 2022 | Comments

Nienke Brinkman of the Netherlands can flat-out run — whether she’s running on flat city streets or steep mountains.

The fleet Dutch athlete spent the last several years building out her trail running and mountain running resume. Today, she proved her ability on the blacktop at one of her home country’s premier races — and pulled down a record while she was at it.

Brinkman was the second woman across the line at the 2022 Rotterdam Marathon, finishing in 2:22:51. She trailed only Ethiopia’s Haven Hailu who won the race with a 51-second lead.

Nienke Brinkman Powers to Dutch Record

Hailu’s successful performance was familiar — she’s no stranger to road running podiums. But Brinkman’s was historic. In just her second marathon ever, she cleaved almost a minute off the Dutch women’s marathon record, previously set by Lornah Kiplagat.

Kiplagat’s record — 2:23:43 — stood for 19 years before the 28-year-old broke it. Brinkman’s debut at the marathon distance was a remarkable 2:26:34 at the 2021 Valencia Marathon in Spain.

Nienke Brinkman - 2022 Rotterdam Marathon 1

Nienke Brinkman of the Netherlands takes second at the 2022 NN Rotterdam Marathon. Photo: Pro Shots/Sipa USA via AP Images

Brinkman’s Unreal Pace: Two Years to World Class

The young runner has ascended to that post, and toward the top of women’s short-distance trail running, meteorically. Believe it or not, she started running in 2020.

In 2021, she burst from trail running and mountain running anonymity when she both won the Zermatt Marathon in July and took second at Sierre-Zinal (31 kilometers, 2,190 meters of elevation gain) in August, among other top performances around the mountains of Europe.


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Brinkman: Competition Running “Never Crossed My Mind”

Brinkman’s second-place finish in Rotterdam placed her alongside the best marathoners in the world. After the race, she helped parade the Dutch flag past hordes of fans with the men’s winner, Abdi Nageeye, also of the Netherlands.


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If the Dutchwoman’s success surprises her any less than it does us, she’s not letting on. According to her, she started her professional career from carte blanche.

“At school, I was always very good at [sprint] tests but it never crossed my mind to do running as a sport,” she said. “Nobody told me that I should opt for running.”

Good thing she decided to do it herself.

Full 2022 Rotterdam Marathon results here.

Sam Anderson
Sam Anderson writes any articles he can talk his way into, amid a life of traveling the United States and Mexico in search of adventure and margaritas. Follow him on Instagram.