Kenya’s Kip­too snatches ti­tle in Beirut Marathon

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports International -

Kenya’s Ed­win Ki­bet Kip­too clocked 2:13:19 to win the Blom Bank Beirut Marathon on Sun­day at Mar­tyr’s Square. The de­fend­ing cham­pion from Kenya, Jack­son Limo, fin­ished third in 2:15:02, be­hind Abebe Gizachew of Ethiopia who placed sec­ond in 2:14:06.

“To­day was very hot and very hu­mid,” said the 28-year-old win­ner. “It was a good race and I was com­fort­able in win­ning. My tar­get was 2:09 but to­day you can­not run for time. The hu­mid­ity, it was very hot. From 31 to 32km I looked back and there were no peo­ple be­hind. I was able to in­crease my lead to the fin­ish.”

Two pace­mak­ers had been charged with the re­spon­si­bil­ity of tow­ing the field through an open­ing half of 1:04:30, but with the pace­mak­ers ex­er­cis­ing a great de­gree of cau­tion, they reached half­way al­most four min­utes slower than ex­pected. Not sur­pris­ingly, there were nine ath­letes in con­tention at that point. Kip­too ran the sec­ond half much faster and that proved the un­do­ing of his ri­vals.

“The pace was a lit­tle slow to­day be­cause of the heat,” said a dis­ap­pointed Limo after­wards. “We tried to push but the time didn’t come. I saw when we were half­way that the pace was too slow. I knew we weren’t go­ing to run a good time.

“I was ex­pect­ing to de­fend my ti­tle but un­for­tu­nately I didn’t. But I am very happy with the re­sults. At about 32km, Kip­too pushed and I tried to go with him but I had a small stitch in my stom­ach. I tried to close the gap to get on the podium.”

The women’s race be­came a solo ef­fort shortly af­ter the half way point as 23-year-old Tigist Girma of Ethiopia fol­lowed closely on the heels of a des­ig­nated pace­maker, drop­ping the en­tire field. The pace­maker had been ex­pected to take Girma right to the fin­ish but he ex­pe­ri­enced cramps and, for a short time, fol­lowed the young Ethiopian un­til he could run no fur­ther.

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