Kirui reasserts Kenya's pedigree to win marathon

Geoffrey Kirui of Kenya celebrates after winning the marathon at the athletics World Championships in London yesterday. Ethiopia's Tamirat Tola finished second and Tanzania's Alphonce Simbu took the bronze.
Geoffrey Kirui of Kenya celebrates after winning the marathon at the athletics World Championships in London yesterday. Ethiopia's Tamirat Tola finished second and Tanzania's Alphonce Simbu took the bronze.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Kenya's Geoffrey Kipkorir Kirui won the men's marathon at the athletics World Championships yesterday, making up for his country's absence on the podium in the last two editions.

Kirui, this season's Boston Marathon winner, clocked 2hr 8min 27sec for gold, 1min 22sec ahead of Ethiopian Tamirat Tola.

Alphonce Simbu of Tanzania claimed bronze, just 2sec adrift of Tola after the 42.195km run, including a 10km Thames river embankment loop, in central London in glorious sunshine.

Tola, the Olympic bronze medallist at 10,000m and fastest in the field with his season's best of 2:04.11, led the field through the halfway point in 1:05.28, accompanied by Kenyans Kirui and Gideon Kipketer, with this year's London Marathon champion Daniel Wanjiru a couple of seconds further back.

At the 1:38 mark, Tola surged to open up a 20m lead on Kirui, but the Kenyan gradually reeled the Ethiopian back in and accelerated past him to become the fifth gold medallist from the East African powerhouse in the marathon.

Britain's Callum Hawkins finished fourth in a personal best of 2:10.17, while Kipketer claimed fifth in 2:10.56, one place ahead of Italy's Daniele Meucci, who was given the same time which was his PB.

Earlier, Mo Farah said he is confident he can win the 5,000m despite injuring his knee and needing three stitches in his left leg after his epic 10,000m triumph on Friday.

The 34-year-old Briton said that he was concerned about his knee, which he hurt in a clash with Kenyan bronze medallist Paul Tanui during a frenetic last lap.

But he was adamant he would be "fine" to shoot for his fifth consecutive golden 5,000m-10,000m double at a global championships as he had four days of recovery time before the heats of the shorter event take place on Wednesday.

Asked if he could achieve the double in his final championships as a track runner, Farah responded: "I've got a few scratches, I've got a few bruises but if I believe enough, and if I rest up enough, it's possible. I do believe."

He explained that he had needed stitches in his left leg after the race.

"It's just the three little ones. I'm not worried about that," he said, referring to what he felt was the most bruising battle of his brilliant career.

"I'm more worried about the knee, it's just slightly banged up," he added, pointing to his left leg.

Farah said he "got spiked" at a point in the race which he couldn't remember. "It's fine, it happens," he added, shrugging off the occupational hazards of being an elite distance runner.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 07, 2017, with the headline 'Kirui reasserts Kenya's pedigree to win marathon'. Print Edition | Subscribe