Ezekiel Chebii led compatriot Vincent Kipruto to a 1-2 finish in the men’s race as the Kenyans dominated the Lake Biwa Marathon in Otsu, Japan.
Chebii, a former Madrid champion ran a winning 2:09:06 to shed six seconds off his previous personal best as Kipruto clocked 2:09.15 for second.
Ugandan Solomon Mutai, the bronze medallist at the 2015 world championships, finished third in 2:09:59, knocking 43 seconds off his previous lifetime best.
“I was hoping to run 2:06, but the last half was quite difficult with the wind,” Chebii, who trains in Kaptagat in Elgeyo Marakwet County, said.
Chebii fell behind Kipruto and the pace makers at the 30km mark before working his way up a kilometer later. The duo then raced together for over 10km making the race a Kenyan affair as the pair entered the Ojiyama Stadium together.
Chebii then broke loose with a surging run with less than a lap to go to deny Kipruto the top podium place.
“I knew Kipruto had a faster time than me, but just as we entered together he seemed to have a problem,” Chebii said.” So although I was tired, I made my move and he could not respond, so I went for the win.”
Following his latest race, Kipruto the 2011 World silver medalist, ran his first sub 2:10 since his third finish in the same race back in 2014 when he clocked 2:09.54, and his fastest time since 2013 at the Frankfurt Marathon where he clocked 2:06.15.
1. Ezekiel Chebii (KEN) 2:09:06
2. Vincent Kipruto (KEN) 2:09:15
3. Munyo Solomon Mutai (UGA) 2:09:59
4. Satoru Sasaki (JPN) 2:10:10
5. Kohei Matsumura (JPN) 2:11:04
6. Suehiro Ishikawa (JPN) 2:11:05
7. Hayato Sonoda (JPN) 2:11:32
8. Shoya Osaki (JPN) 2:12:07
9. Yihunilign Adane (ETH) 2:12:33
10. Daisuke Uekado (JPN) 2:12:58