#marathon #olympics #athletics #rio2016

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The women’s Olympic marathon kicked off day three of athletics action at the Rio 2016 Games. On a hot morning in the Brazilian city, 157 athletes toed the line for the marathon with plenty of action taking place during all portions of the race. Here are some of the must-know moments from the morning that was.

Kenya wins its first-ever Olympic gold medal in the women’s marathon

Sumgong becomes the first Kenyan woman to win an Olympic marathon #rio2016 #athletics #olympics #marathon

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When one thinks of long-distance running, the most dominant nation that comes to mind is typically Kenya. Amazingly, it wasn’t until today that a Kenyan women has won an Olympic gold medal in the marathon. Jemima Sumgong, a winner of the London Marathon, put in a surge with approximately 1.5K to go to defeat Kenyan-born Eunice Kirwa, who now represents Bahrain.

Sarah Attar completes marathon

The first ever Saudi Arabian woman to compete at the Olympics in 2012 returned to Rio and ran the marathon on Sunday morning. Sarah Attar has lived in California for her entire life but holds dual citizenship with the United States and Saudi Arabia. The International Olympic Committee invited her to compete in the Rio Games despite not being close to hitting the necessary qualifying time standard.

The late Sammy Wanjiru is the only other Kenyan to have ever won the Olympic marathon. He set an Olympic record at the 2008 Games in what some say is one of the greatest races ever (2:06 in the heat of Beijing).

Canadians run two smart races, both place in the top-35

Lanni Marchant and Krista DuChene, the two Canadians in the race, ran superb races to finish in the top 35. It was the first time since 1984 that two Canadian women were entered in the 42.2K discipline at the Olympic Games. Marchant, on just 48 hours rest from the 10,000m, placed 24th to go along with her 25th place finish two days ago. DuChene, Canada’s marathon mom, celebrated across the line as she finished the world’s most exclusive marathon. The marathon is also one of the few global disciplines as athletes from more than 80 countries competed in the event.

RELATED: See the race recap with a Canadian-focus as Lanni Marchant and Krista DuChene place in the top 35.

North Korean twins tie at the finish line, German twins cross holding hands

The two sets of twins in the women’s Olympic marathon crossed the finish line together. North Korea’s Kim Hye-Gyong and Kim Hye-Song finished 10th and 11th in the same time (2:28:36) but needed photo finish to determine the better result. The German twins, Anna and Lisa Hahner, finished 81st and 82nd in 2:45:32 and 2:45:33, respectively.

There were also Estonian triplets who ran the marathon though only two of the three finished. See their full story here.

Protester gets chased off the Olympic marathon course

As the two lead women approached the finishing stretch of the race, a protester ran onto the course and had to be controlled by a security guard.

Americans place sixth, seventh and ninth

Americans Shalane Flanagan and Desiree Linden hung with the lead pack for much of the race and placed in the top 10. Flanagan was mixing it up with the leaders in the latter stages of the race while Linden ran more even-paced and was consistently between 15 and 30 seconds back. Linden and Marchant trained together during the winter months in Kenya as many elite athletes spend time in the East African nation for training camps.

Amy Cragg was a bit further back of the two other Americans but still finished strong in ninth.

Cragg and Flanagan train with the Bowerman Track Club in Oregon, a group that also features Canadians Mo Ahmed and Matt Hughes.

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  • It would be nice if the Olympic marathon had a cross-country style team score and medals for the best three teams. Count the place of the team’s three finishers, low score wins. This year, the U.S. would have won with 6+7+9 for a best low score of 22.

    I don’t just say this because I’m American. It would be exciting in any Olympic year and give meaning to other runners’ efforts. Viewers would love it.

  • Gary says:

    Nice summary of the Rio Olympics/Women’s marathon results BUT there is one error. You state:

    “It was the first time ever that two Canadian women were entered in the 42.2K
    discipline at the Olympic Games.”

    In fact there was two Canadians entered in the 1984 Olympic Marathon (first time women’s event) , with Canada’s Jacqueline Gareau, and Silvia Ruegger. Silvia also owned the National record until Lanni and Krista BOTH broke it-though Lanni now owns the record.

    Just thought I would clarify our great history of women’s marathoning….

    Long May We Run!
    Gary Rush
    Webmaster “pacerbook”

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