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Rotterdam and Paris Marathon kick off spring marathon season

Two of Europe’s biggest running events took place early this morning on the streets of Rotterdam, which is The Netherlands second largest city, and in Paris, the French capital.

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Last year’s defending champion Paul Lonyangata of Kenya was again the first to cross the finish line in a time of 2:06:23. Mathew Kisorio and Ernest Ngeno were second and third, respectively, in times of 2:06:36 and 2:06:41. Both are also from Kenya, giving the east African distance powerhouse the top three spots on the podium.

On the women’s side, it was a sprint for the finish between another two Kenyans with Betsy Saina narrowly beating Ruth Chepngetich to the line in a time of 2:22:55. Chepngetich was just four seconds back in 2:22:59 with Ethiopian Gulume Chala finishing third in 2:23:06.

The event employs a staggered start with the elite women starting before the men. This year, the women departed exactly 16 minutes and 26 seconds before their male counterparts. It was just after 40K that Lonyangata got a glimpse of the top females and in the end, passed the leaders in the race’s final kilometres.

In total, there were some 45,000 finishers on what was a very warm and sunny day in Paris.

Conditions in Rotterdam however, were closer to ideal with temperatures in the low teens to start and very low wind.

Combined with the flat and fast course, top finishers delivered with speedy finish times. Kenneth Kipkemoi of Kenya was the top male in 2:05:44. Aberu Kuma was second in 2:05:50 with Kelkile Gezahegn, third, in 2:05:57.

Visiline Jepkesho, also of Kenya, was the first female finisher in a time of 2:23:47. Biruktayit Eshetu of Ethiopia was second in 2:26:56 and Sentayehu Lewetegn, also of Ethiopia, third in 2:30:29.

John Mason, a native of Paris, Ontario and a member of the Speed River Track Club ran an impressive personal best time of 2:18:23 to finish 16th overall.

Brittany Moran of Toronto ran 2:40:46, also a personal best time, and was the tenth female finisher overall.

These events come just one week before the 122nd running of the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 16th and the London Marathon less than a week later on Sunday, April 22nd. Both are part of the World Marathon Major series and see some 30,000 plus participants.