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Kenyans cruise to victory at Kuala Lumpur Marathon

Cyprian Kiogara broke the course record and Winfridah Kwamboka completed a Kenyan sweep on Sunday at the 16th AmBank Kuala Lumpur International Marathon, which drew 8182 runners from 49 countries in four distances.

In his first Marathon overseas, 28-year-old Kiogara led a contingent of 15 Kenyan men, who took the first nine spots. After reaching half way at 1:09:45 and 30km at 1:38:33 with many of his countrymen, Kiogara broke away from his compatriot Lewis Abraham Ondati in the last 2km and went on to win in 2:17:38 hours, more than three minutes faster than the previous record, set by Kenyan Samuel Tarus (2:21:01) in 2006.

“I am very happy and my body responded well to the warm conditions here. You cannot post fast times here, but I hope to do better next time. My next marathon could be in Singapore, in December”, the winner said.

Runner-up Ondati was also well under the record in his marathon debut (2:17:57). “If I can run 2:17 here, I can improve a lot in a race with cool temperatures”, said the 25-year old.

William Kiptoo Koech (2:19:21) and Julius Maritim Kipsgei (2:20:53) were also faster than the previous standard. Defending champion Tarus was left of contention after 30km and eventually dropped out.

Kenya’s John Setanei Cheboi and Uganda’s Joseph Nsubuga, second and third in the last two editions, were relegated to 12th and 13th, respectively.

Organizers set the marathon start for 4:30am, 30 minutes earlier than last year, and better results showed up.

In the women’s race, Winfridah Kwamboka led solo after 10km and was on course for a course record after completing the first half in 1:19:06.

However, she had to struggle with stomach problems and had to be content with a 2:48:09-hour performance, enough to secure her first international road race victory.

The record (2:46:37), set twenty years ago by Myanmar’s Mar Mar Min, “was obviously within my reach, but I really hard a hard time in the last 12km and just focused on finishing”, said the 25-year old.

The tiny five-foot tall Kwamboka gave birth to a girl in 2003 and only returned to running less than a year ago. She finished eighth in her marathon debut last September in Nairobi, with a time of 2:35 hours.

“If I am invited, I will be back next year”, added the winner, who was followed by China’s Wang Shidan (2:52:59) and Thailand’s Sunisa Sailomyen (2:55:14).

It was the fifth win in the men’s race and the first in the women’s for Kenya in the 23-year old history of the KL Marathon.

Javier Clavelo Robinson for the IAAF

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