Ghirmay Ghebreslassie

Kenya’s Mary Keitany wins London Marathon with second-best time in history

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LONDON (AP) — Kenyan runner Mary Keitany broke Paula Radcliffe’s women-only marathon world record on Sunday with a third victory in London, while Daniel Wanjiru won the men’s race for the first time.

The 35-year-old Keitany completed the 26.2-mile (42.2-kilometer) in 2 hours, 17 minutes and 1 second to shave 41 seconds off Radcliffe’s 12-year-old mark.

The retired British athlete still remains a world-record holder. Radcliffe fought six years ago with the IAAF to ensure her 2003 marathon time of 2 hours, 15 minutes, 25 seconds — with two male pacemakers — was still recognized as a record rather than just a world-best.

Keitany was on track to break that outright world record halfway through Sunday’s race in the British capital in sunny conditions, but the pace eased up. She still ran to victory to seize the women-only record. Tirunesh Dibaba was 55 seconds behind Keitany while fellow Ethiopian, Aselefech Mergia, was third.

“It was very fast pace and I tried to follow it,” Keitany said. “I think the course has changed a little bit and it felt better than before. The weather was really good this year. Last year it was very, very cold. My body felt fit enough and I have trained well and I tried to push all the time. I’m very happy with the finish time. Parts of the course are hilly but I train in a very similar area in Kenya so it was not too different for me.”

The women’s marathon was missing its defending champion. Keitany’s compatriot, Jemima Sumgong, tested positive for the blood booster EPO in a surprise out-of-competition doping test in Kenya in February.

The men’s race saw the 24-year-old Wanjiru winning his first major marathon in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 48 seconds. That was nine seconds faster than Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia, while Bedan Karoki was third.

The men’s and mass race had a royal start, with Prince William, wife Kate and brother Harry pressing a button to sound the klaxon.

There was a British winner in the wheelchair race, with David Weir storming to his seventh victory in the event to end four years of frustration since his last success. The 37-year-old Weir retired from track competition last year after the six-time Paralympic champion failed to win a medal at the Rio de Janeiro Games.

“It’s the first time I’ve felt comfortable in years,” Weir said. “It’s been a tough four months personally. I’ve had a lot of background problems in my personal life. It’s been tough, especially after Rio. I needed to focus and sort out my head. I knew I had it in the last corner. All I was thinking was ‘win, win, win.'”

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Ten memorable quotes from World Track and Field Championships

Usain Bolt
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From kidney failure to goat blood, here are 10 memorable quotes from the World Track and Field Championships:

  • “My parents wanted me to be a great university student, but I wanted to become a good athlete.” — Eritrea’s Ghirmay Ghebreslassie, after becoming the first athlete from his country to win an Olympic or World Track and Field Championships gold medal and the first teenager to win an Olympic or World Championships marathon. (IAAF)
  • “I gave the race away the last five meters.”Justin Gatlin on losing to Usain Bolt by .01 in the 100m final. (USATF)
  • “She had this once-in-a-lifetime moment. I feel like it kind of slipped through my fingers.”Molly Huddle on celebrating before the finish and losing a bronze medal to countrywoman Emily Infeld. (Universal Sports)
    “I hate to take a medal away from a teammate and fellow American. … I don’t mean to snipe someone or do that. I feel like that’s kind of like a [expletive] way to get it, so I feel kind of bad now.” — Infeld (LetsRun)
  • “A new queen Dibaba is arriving.” — Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba after winning the 1500m, joining her two sisters as World medalists. (New York Times)
  • “I’ve put in my time.”Allyson Felix, before winning her first World Championship in the 400m following three 200m World titles, on if the Rio Olympic track and field schedule should be changed to accommodate her running the 200m and 400m at the Games, as it was for Michael Johnson in 1996. (New York Times)
  • “The rumor I’m trying to start right now is that Justin Gatlin paid him off.” Usain Bolt on being run over by a cameraman on a Segway.
    “I want my money back. He didn’t complete the job.”Justin Gatlin in response (press conference).
  • “This bronze medal is going to shine brighter than my gold.” — Olympic champion Aries Merritt on finishing third in the 110m hurdles with kidney function less than 20 percent and four days before he would receive a kidney transplant from his sister. (LetsRun)
  • “It was unfortunate that she had to struggle, and I had to benefit from that. But her day will come.” — Ashton Eaton, after breaking his decathlon world record, on his wife, Canadian Brianne Theisen-Eaton, who earlier took silver in the heptathlon. (IAAF)
  • “I’m going to cut the goat … and drink the blood.” — Kenyan Maasai warrior Elijah Manangoi on his celebration after taking silver in the 1500m. (LetsRun)
  • “We came here to kick ass. We kicked ass.” — Canadian coach Peter Eriksson after the nation won eight medals, its best-ever World Championships total. (CBC)

U.S. finishes World Championships with fewest medals since 2003

Eritrean shocks favorites, becomes youngest Worlds marathon winner ever

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Eritrea’s Ghirmay Ghebreslassie became the first teenager to win an Olympic or World Championships marathon, shocking the Kenyan and Ethiopian favorites to open the meet in Beijing on Saturday.

Ghebreslassie, 19, won the first Olympic or World Track and Field Championships gold medal for his country. He crossed the finish line in 2 hours, 12 minutes, 27 seconds, winning by 40 seconds over Ethiopian Yemane Tsegay.

The pre-race favorites finished more than two minutes behind, led by reigning Olympic and defending World champion Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda (sixth place; 2:14:42) and two-time Boston Marathon winner Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia (seventh; 2:14:53).

Reigning New York City Marathon winner Wilson Kipsang and world-record holder Dennis Kimetto, both of Kenya, failed to finish. Kimetto set the world record of 2:02:57 at the Berlin Marathon on Sept. 28.

Ghebreslassie came into the race Saturday with a personal best over 26.2 miles of 2:07:47, set when he finished second at the Hamburg Marathon on April 26.

The fall marathon season will begin in earnest with the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 11.

Kipsang: I’m still the world’s best marathon runner