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Eliud Kipchoge, Caterine Ibarguen win IAAF Athlete of the Year awards

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Kenyan marathoner Eliud Kipchoge and Colombian jumper Caterine Ibarguen won the IAAF Athlete of the Year awards.

Kipchoge lowered the marathon world record to 2:01:39 from 2:02:57 at the Berlin Marathon on Sept. 16, winning a modern-era record-extending ninth straight elite marathon. He also won the London Marathon on April 22.

Kipchoge earned the award over finalists U.S. sprinter Christian Coleman, Swedish pole vaulter Mondo Duplantis, French decathlete Kevin Mayer and Qatari hurdler Abderrahman Samba. He is the first male marathoner to grab the annual honor and the second Kenyan after David Rudisha in 2010.

Mayer was the only other man to break an outdoor world record this year, taking down the retired Ashton Eaton‘s decathlon mark.

Ibarguen swept the Diamond League season titles in the triple jump and the long jump, going undefeated for 2018 in the former. She is best known as a triple jumper, taking the 2013 and 2015 World titles and Rio Olympic gold.

The other female finalists were British sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, Kenyan steeplechaser Beatrice Chepkoech, Bahamian sprinter Shaunae Miller-Uibo and Belgian heptathlete Nafi Thiam. Chepkoech was the only woman to break a world record on the track this year, smashing the steeple mark by eight seconds.

The finalists did not include South African Caster Semenya, who extended an undefeated record at 800m dating to 2015 and set personal bests at 400m, 800m and 1500m this year. Semenya finished the season ranked No. 1 in the world in the 800m, No. 4 in the 400m and No. 9 in the 1500m, rare versatility.

The last Americans to earn the annual awards were Eaton in 2015 and Allyson Felix in 2012.

Duplantis and American hurdler Sydney McLaughlin won Rising Star awards.

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Mo Farah compares Eliud Kipchoge to Anthony Joshua, taps London Marathon

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In the settled dust of the fall major marathon season, an argument can be made that Mo Farah is the world’s best marathoner in the non-Eliud Kipchoge division.

Farah, who swept the 5000m and 10,000m on the track at the last two Olympics and switched full-time to road running this year, took third at the London Marathon on April 22 and won the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 7.

The 35-year-old Brit announced Tuesday that he’s entering next April’s London Marathon, which Kipchoge has raced and won three straight times (not counting his 2017 absence for Nike’s sub-two-hour marathon attempt). Kipchoge, who distanced Farah by two minutes in April, has not announced his spring marathon plans, but it would be a surprise if he doesn’t defend his London title.

Farah anticipated the showdown in his post-Chicago victory news conference last month, conceding that Kipchoge is the better marathoner (currently, Farah noted) but that he was not afraid of not only racing Kipchoge, but also trying to test the Kenyan world-record holder.

Kipchoge, who is 19 months younger than Farah, has won nine straight marathons, the longest streak at the highest level of the event in at least 50 years. His world record — 2:01:39 set in Berlin on Sept. 16 — is 78 seconds clear of the second-fastest man in history.

“Do I think I can beat him? Yes,” Farah said in conjunction with his London Marathon announcement, according to the Standard. “Right now, he’s beyond anyone else. In that way, I’d compare him to Anthony Joshua, in that he’s the top of the heavyweight boxing division, but it only takes one great fight to knock him down.”

Farah compared himself to another undefeated British heavyweight, Tyson Fury. “You don’t know what you’re going to get. On the day, when it matters, I feel I can put on the best show,” he said, according to the report.

While Joshua and Fury have never fought, Farah and Kipchoge were in the same track race 14 times between 2006 and 2012, with Farah winning three of the last four as he emerged as the world’s best distance runner in 2011 and 2012.

Farah’s plan beyond the London Marathon isn’t as set as once thought. He has said he might go back on his 2017 retirement from track racing and attempt to race the 10,000m at the world championships in Doha on Sept. 27. Even race on the track at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The last British man to win the London Marathon was Eamonn Martin in 1993.

“My aim is to win the London Marathon one day,” Farah said. “I don’t know when it’s going to be.”

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Kipchoge lacks ‘words to describe’ record-breaking run

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Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge smashed the marathon world record, winning the Berlin race in 2 hours, 1 minute, 39 seconds on Sunday.

His feat came as Kevin Mayer set a decathlon world record with a total of 9,126 points in his native France on Sunday, topping a previous best of 9,045 points set by American Ashton Eaton three years ago.

Organizers of the Berlin marathon initially put Kipchoge’s time at 2 hours, 1 minute, 40 seconds, but later reduced it by one second.

The 33-year-old broke the previous world record set in Berlin by fellow Kenyan Dennis Kimetto in 2014 by 1 minute and 18 seconds.

“I lack words to describe this day,” Kipchoge said after becoming the first person to finish a marathon in less than 2 hours and 2 minutes.

“They say you miss two times but you can’t miss the third time,” he said in reference to his two previous failed attempts to break the world record in Berlin.

The Kenyan defended his 2017 title in the German capital, pulling ahead of other runners early on amid perfect conditions. Mild temperatures and little to no wind gave the runners of the 45th Berlin marathon an advantage over last year, when rain slowed the race.

Berlin debutant Amos Kipruto came second in 2 hours, 6 minutes, 23 seconds, followed by a third Kenyan, former world-record holder Wilson Kipsang, with 2 hours, 6 minutes, 48 seconds.

Shogo Nakamura of Japan narrowly missed setting a new national record with a time of 2 hours, 8 minutes, 16 seconds.
Gladys Cherono won the women’s race in 2 hours, 18 minutes, 11 seconds, a women’s record for the Berlin marathon. The previous track record was set by Mizuki Noguchi of Japan 13 years ago.

The 35-year-old Kenyan, who has won twice before in Berlin, said she felt confident going into the race but wasn’t sure she would beat favorite Tirunesh Dibaba.
Dibaba came third behind fellow Ethiopian Rutia Aga.

A total of 44,389 runners from 133 countries took part in the race, organizers said.