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Kenyan Betsy Saina wins her first completed marathon in Paris while Lonyongata repeats 2017 win

Kenyans rule as Lonyongata and Saina cross the Paris marathon finish line almost together

Paul Lonyongata of Kenya won the 42nd running of the Paris marathon on Sunday for the second consecutive year, with an impressive time of 2:06:25, just after overtaking countrywoman Betsy Saina, who took the women’s title in her first completed marathon.

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30-year-old Saina finished in 2:22:56, well behind the course record set last year by Purity Rionoripo, who is married to Lonyongata.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BhTfZprFtx4/?taken-by=sainabetsy

Lonyongata was part of a large group that broke away from the start, reaching the 10K mark at 29:51, which had commentators predicting a possible 2:06 finish. 

At the 30K mark only 15 runners remained in the lead group, including Lonyongata, who made his move one kilometre later, to be briefly overtaken by fellow Kenyans Mathew Kisorio (who finished in second place with a time of 2:06:36) and Ernest Ngeno (third, in 2:06:41), as well as Ethiopia’s Yitayal Atnafu. Atnafu began to falter as Kisorio maintained the lead, with Lonyongata and Ngeno in hot pursuit.

Lonyongata pulled ahead between kilometres 40 and 41, catching up to Betsy Saina near the finish line. (The women’s elites started 16 and a half minutes ahead of the men.)

Saina, who placed fifth in the 10,000m at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, did not finish two previous marathons in 2017 (Tokyo and New York). Two months ago she set a PB in the half marathon at the Kagawa Marugame half marathon in Japan, with a time of 1:09:17. 

With 4K remaining, Saina pulled out in front. Ruth Chepngetich threatened to catch up but ended up finishing three seconds back, with Gulume Chala (who won Paris in 2016) in third place.

42,095 people finished this year’s race. After next week’s much-anticipated Boston marathon, we then look ahead to London.

 

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