Lonyangata retains title at Paris marathon, Kenyans dominate
PARIS (AP) — Paul Lonyangata retained his title at the Paris Marathon on Sunday and Betsy Saina completed a Kenya sweep by winning the women’s race.
Lonyangata became the first man to win back-to-back titles since Steve Brace of Britain in 1989 and 1990. He won in two hours, 6 minutes and 25 seconds and did not improve the personal best he set last year when he finished in 2:06:10.
“I won last year, this year, I think it is a wonderful time for me,” the 25-year-old Lonyangata said. “I like Paris so much.”
Lonyangata, wo also won the 2013 Lisbon and 2015 Shanghai marathons, won ahead of fellow Kenyans Mathew Kisorio and Ernest Ngeno.
The women’s race started early this year to make sure the winner would cross the finish line approximately at the same time as the men. In sunny and mild conditions, Saina made it to the finish just behind Lonyangata, completing the race in 2:22:55 in her marathon debut ahead of Ruth Chepngetich of Kenya and Gulume Chala of Ethiopia.
After a group of 20 athletes including all the favorites ran away from the pack early in the race, Lonyangata made his first move at the 31-kilometer mark and was followed by Kisorio, who immediately counterattacked. Only Ngeno, Lonyangata and Ethiopia’s Yitayal Atnafu were able to stay in his wake. Lonyangata then surged away from his rivals after the 40th kilometer.
Kisorio finished in 2:06:36, with Ngeno third in 2:06:41.