Kenya long distant athletes reaffirmed their superiority in the 26 miles event after former two-times World Champion Abel Kirui and World Half Marathon record holder Florence Kiplagat ruled the 39th Chicago Marathon on Sunday evening.
Kirui and Kiplagat did not only top the stepladder but also marshaled fellow Kenyans in dominating the top positions with men taking the first 5 leading slots.
The clean sweep elicited wild celebrations in athletics-rich Counties of Elgeyo Marakwet, Nandi and Uasin Gishu where fans and families of the runners watched the race in social places.
At Tortoise Resort in Kapsabet, owned by Wilfred Bungei, the 2008 Olympics 800metres champion, the Bank of Africa held a special workshop for the athletes as they gathered to watch the race.
Kirui bounced back to the limelight after shaking off an injury to dethroned previous winner Dickson Chumba, clocking 2:11.23 with the latter arriving second in 2:11.26.
The victory is likely to ignite his desire to be included in next year’s World Championships in London where he aims for a third global title as he had indicated during the pre-race media conference.
Mumbai and Shanghai marathon winners Gideon Kipketer and Paul Lunyangata finished third and fourth in 2:12.20 and 2:13.17 while debutant Stephen Sambu came 5th in 2:13.35 in 1-2-3-4-5 for Kenya.
For women, it was Kiplagat who called the shoots, leading former two-times World champion Ednah Kiplagat in another 1-2-3-4 sway for the country, famed for winning every big city marathon races.
The world half-marathon record holder chalked 2:21.32 for the victory with Ednah timing 2:23.28. Previous Amsterdam marathon winner Valentine Kipketer took the third slot in 2:23.41 with habitual road racer Purity Rionoripo sealing the scale in 2:24.49.
1. Abel Kirui 2:11.23
2. Dickson Chumba 2:11.26
3. Gideon Kipketer 2:12.20
4. Paul Lunyangata 2:13.17
5. Stephen Sambu 2:13.35
18. Micah Kogo 2:20.03
1. Florence Kiplagat 2:21.32
2. Ednah Kiplagat 2: 23.28
3. Valentine Kipketer 2:23.41
4. Purity Rionoripo 2:24.49.
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