Two time world champion Abel Kirui and Florrence Kiplagat led Kenya’s sweep in the 39th Bank of America Chicago Marathon yesterday
Kirui clocked 2:11:23 to beat fellow Kenyan and defending champion Dickson Chumba to second place in 2:11:26.
Gideon Kipketer completed the podium finish in the men’s category after posting 2:12:20 while Paul Lonyangata (2:13:17) and
Stephen Sambu (2:13:35) ensured the country swept the top five places after finishing fourth and fifth respectively.
The top Ethiopian Abayneh Ayele finished sixth in 2:13:52 and was followed by Japanese Takuya Fukatsu (2:13:530 in the seventh place.
Diego Estrada (U.S.) 2:13:56; Koji Gokaya (Japan) 2:14:34 and Elkanah Kibet (U.S.) 2:16:37; followed in the order for the top 10 positions. Three Kenyans — Kirui, Chumba and Kipketer — pulled away around mile 20 in a curiously up and down race, and a slow one, on the men’s side, perhaps because of the year without pacesetters.
In an interview, Kirui expressed delight for returning after a number of struggles to win again.
He said his next target will be World Championships in London and he is already spoiling a for a face off with Olympic marathon champion, Eliud Kipchoge and Wilson Kipsang. “ I am happy after winning Chicago and my next target will be London 2017,” he said.
he said the Chicago course had favoured him despite the hilly conditions. “ The weather was also in my favour because I am lucky it wasn't humid,” he added.
the script was the same in the women’s race as defending champion Kiplagat retained her title.
Kiplagat seized control around 30K and raced to a dominating victory in the women’s race. The Kenyan finished in 2:21:32, more than two minutes faster than her 2:23:33 in 2015, when she waited until 40K to take control.
Edna Kiplagat was second timed at 2:23:28 while Valentine Kipketer (2:23:41) ensured a Kenyan podium sweep. Purity Rionoripo placed fourth in 2:24:47 ahead of Yebrqual Melese of Ethiopia who was fifth in 2:24:49.