Abel Kirui of Kenya wins the Marathon World Championships gold medal in Daegu (Getty Images) © Copyright
Report Daegu, Korea

Men's Marathon - Final - With runaway victory, Kirui becomes third man to defend title

Running in cool conditions, Abel Kirui became the third athlete to successfully defend their title after a runaway victory around a loop course in the city streets of Daegu on Sunday.

Kirui completing his first Marathon of the year after failing to finish in London in April, made his presence first felt in the race when leading through 20 kilometres in 1:01:42 and the halfway point with a mark of 1:05:07, before producing a roller coast display to win by the biggest ever margin of 2:28 in a time of 2:07:38.

Well behind the Kenyan who matched the back-to-back doubles previously achieved by Spain's Abel Anton and Jaouad Gharib from Morocco was his team mate Vincent Kipruto and Ethiopia's Feyisa Lilesa who clocked 2:10:06 and 2:10:32, respectively.

Kirui not originally selected for the Athletics Kenya team but recalled following withdrawals, stamped his authority on the race when making a definitive break around 27km and with a superb 14:17 split reaching 30km in 1:30:43.

That saw the 29-year-old enjoying a very healthy lead of 11sec ahead of 2010 Prague champion Eliud Kiptanui who would drift backwards to finish sixth and Lilesa whose 2:05:23 in Rotterdam last year was the fastest ever by a 20-year-old.

The winner whose last appearance was actually on the track at the Samsung Diamond League/Prefontaine Classic meet at the beginning of June in Eugene when finishing runner-up to fellow countryman Mose Mosop who set a World 30,000 record, covered the next split in 14:40.

That increased the distance to 1:14 at 35km passed in 1:45:23 ahead of colleague Vincent Kipruto a former Paris champion who had moved up from fourth and Lilesi who was continuously looking behind although not appearing distressed.

Kirui, a second successive victory assured barring a major incident, produced a slowish split of 15:15 to pass  40km in 2:00:38 from Kipruto who was edging clear of Lilese the third youngest competitor in the race.

The order not changing saw Lilese whose only other outing this year produced a seventh finish in Rotterdam and here was rewarded with a season's best performance.

Morocco's Abderrahime Bouramdane seventh in London this year who was dropped when the pace began to overheat at 25km took fourth position in 2:10:55 while the first non-African finisher fell to Hiroyuki Horibata of Japan who recorded 2:11:52.

The start of the contest before the men were sorted out from the boys by Kirui's break actually saw Horibata's team mate Yuki Kawauchi a full time civil servant rather than a professional like other Japanese runners lead through 5km in 15:58 leading a pack of 49.

Nicholas Kiprono became almost the constant leader although Modike Lucky Mohale of South Africa was at the point after 10km (31:21) with a pack of 30 following his pace while the Ugandan was still in the front row when Kipruto went through 15km in 46:28.

Then Kirui's face came on the scene and with tremendous backing from his colleagues he led his nation to retaining it's IAAF World Cup Marathon team title from Japan and Morocco.

Despite the outstanding performance of Lilele, the youngest ever medallist, Ethiopia failed to finish a side. New York champion Gebre Gebremariam highly fancied for the individual crown dropped out after 12km as did the highly rated Chala Dechase and Bazu Worku.

David Martin for the IAAF