Tigist Tufa

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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Kenyans sweep New York City Marathon for third straight year

Stanley Biwott, Mary Keitany
AP
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NEW YORK — Kenyans Stanley Biwott and Mary Keitany won the New York City Marathon on Sunday, marking the third straight year the distance-running power swept the 26.2-mile race.

Biwott, 29, notched the biggest victory of his career in his second New York appearance. He clocked 2 hours, 10 minutes, 34 seconds, and outlasted countryman Geoffrey Kamworor by 14 seconds, pulling away in the final two miles in Central Park.

Pre-race favorite and defending champion Wilson Kipsang of Kenya was fourth out of an unofficial 50,229 total starters.

Meb Keflezighi, the 2009 winner, placed seventh in 2:13:32 for his eighth top-10 in 10 New York appearances. Keflezighi, at 40 seeking next year to become the oldest U.S. Olympic runner of all time, broke the U.S. masters marathon record of 2:13:52.

Biwott, who worked on a dairy farm until 2006 and still owns 10 cows, finished fifth in his previous New York start in 2013. He won the 2012 Paris Marathon.

Keitany, 33, became the first woman to win back-to-back New York marathons since world-record holder Paula Radcliffe in 2007 and 2008.

She clocked 2:24:25, prevailing by 67 seconds over Ethiopian Asefelech Mergia. The top U.S. woman was Laura Thweatt, seventh in 2:28:23, the seventh-fastest time in New York history by an American woman.

In 2014, Keitany prevailed in New York by three seconds, tying the closest women’s finish ever, in her first marathon since giving birth to her second child. She placed fourth at the London Olympics and missed all of 2013 due to childbirth.

The fastest American woman coming into the race, 18-year-old Alana Hadley, dropped out a little past the halfway point. Hadley is too young to be eligible for the 2016 Olympic marathon.

The U.S. Olympic marathon trials are Feb. 13, live on NBC. The top three men’s and women’s finishers earn Rio spots.

“If I’m going to make the Olympic team, I better run a lot faster,” said Keflezighi, who has 104 days to recover before the trials in Los Angeles.

Keflezighi, a four-time Olympian and 2004 marathon silver medalist, won the 2012 Olympic trials in 2:09:08. The third-place finisher at the 2012 trials clocked 2:09:47 and fourth place was 2:09:55.

Even though Keflezighi’s 2:13:32 from Sunday is much slower than that, New York is known as a slower course. Keflezighi ran 2:13:18 in New York last year, in tougher weather conditions. He clocked a personal-best 2:08:37 to win Boston last year, which ranks him No. 2 among Americans across all marathons since he finished fourth at the London Olympics.

Thweatt, whose marathon debut time made her the seventh-fastest U.S. woman since the start of 2013, said she does not plan to race the marathon trials but focus on the U.S. Olympic track and field trials in July.

Tatyana McFadden, an 11-time Paralympic medalist, shattered the women’s wheelchair course record by 7 minutes, 20 seconds. McFadden clocked 1:43:04 for 26.2 miles, completing a sweep of Boston, Chicago, London and New York City marathons for a third straight year.

MORE TRACK AND FIELD: Kenya marathon runner-up arrested for cheating in race

London Marathon produces surprise men’s, women’s winners

Eliud Kipchoge
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Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge stunned the last two world-record holders to capture the London Marathon, 12 years after he defeated two legends in a World Championships 5000m.

Kipchoge, 30, clocked 2:04:42, pulling away from 2014 London winner and countryman Wilson Kipsang by five seconds. World-record holder Dennis Kimetto placed third in 2:05:50 to complete a Kenyan sweep.

“This was a real major championship,” Kipchoge said on the BBC. “Like an Olympic Games.”

Kipchoge also won the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 12 and Olympic silver and bronze medals in the 5000m in 2008 and 2004, respectively.

At Athens 2004, Kipchoge was 19 years old when he finished behind legends Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele in the Olympic 5000m. A year earlier, he beat both of them at the World Championships in Paris.

Kipsang’s streak of three straight major marathon victories was snapped, a run that began with his 2013 Berlin Marathon win in a then-world record 2:03:23.

Kimetto, too, failed, in his first marathon after breaking Kipsang’s world record to prevail in Berlin in 2:02:57 on Sept. 28.

Ethiopian Tigist Tufa shockingly won the women’s race, her only previous major marathon being an eighth place in New York in 2013. She clocked 2:23:22.

Kenyan pre-race favorite Mary Keitany was runner-up, 18 seconds behind. Keitany, a mother of two, won the 2014 New York City Marathon and the 2011 and 2012 London Marathons.

Paula Radcliffe, the British world-record holder in her marathon farewell, was interviewed by the BBC’s Denise Lewis while she ran and eventually finished in 2:36:55.

“Especially down the last mile there, I just thought, I didn’t care about the time the whole way round, I was so tired, I just wanted to try and thank as many people as possible,” Radcliffe, 41, emotionally said on the BBC afterward, wearing a finisher’s medal after she hugged her two children. “I keep saying that my ears were ringing all the times I’ve run [the London Marathon], but that was even louder.”

The next World Marathon Major will take place at the World Track and Field Championships in Beijing in August.

Meb Keflezighi hopes to be an example for Ryan Hall as Olympic trials approach