For the first time in the history of the race, Kenyans won both the men’s and women’s division of Nagano Olympic Memorial Marathon, Nagano, Japan. Francis Kibiwott won the men’s race with the Nagano Marathon record of 2:09:05, thus eclipsing the previous record of 2:10:17 set by two-time Olympic medallist Eric Wainaina of Kenya which had stood since 2000. He also kept the Kenyan winning streak at the race, now standing at seven in the row.
Pauline Wangui won the women’s race. It was the first Kenyan victory at the women’s division in Nagano Olympic Memorial Marathon.
The Nagano Olympic Memorial Marathon is an IAAF Bronze Label Road Race.
In the men’s race, the lead pack of eleven runners at 5km was reduced to five runners – three Kenyans: Francis Kibiwott, Silas Sang, Moses Kangogo, and Alexey Sokolov and Kiyokatsu Hasegawa – by 15km. Five kilometres later, the race turned into three-men race among the three invited Kenyans who passed the half marathon point in 1:04:28, so the course record was under threat.
They continued to run together until 30km at which point Kangogo started to drift back, and thus the race turned into a race between Sang and Kibiwott. They were still together at 40km (2:02:20) but then Kibiwott won the final sprint to the finish and set the course record of 2:09:05. Sang was second five seconds behind with 2:09:10, personal best by nearly two minutes, which is also under the course record. Kangogo held onto third with 2:10:53 while Sokolov was fourth six seconds behind with 2:10:59, nearly a minute personal best. The first Japanese was Kiyokatsu Hasegawa more than five minutes behind Sokolov.
In the women’s race, three Africans – Belaynesh Zemedkhun, Pauline Wangui, and Rose Nyangacha – broke away early, before 5km. Then soon after the race turned into a duel between Belaynesh Gebre Zemedkhun of Ethiopia and Pauline Wangui of Kenya. They run together until 35km at which point Wangui started to pull away from Zemedkhun and won by nearly a minute with 2:34:22, personal best by nearly four minutes. It was the first time a Kenyan woman had won the Nagano Olympic Memorial Marathon, and the first African victory since 2004.
Zemedkhun finished second with 2:35:19 while Rose Nyangacha of Kenya was third with 2:36:18; the first time in the history of the Nagano Marathon that Africa had taken a sweep of the podium. Lauren Shelley of Australia, who was eighth in Osaka in January, was fourth today in Nagano. Ansastasia Nderba, sister of Catherine Ndereba finished ninth with 2:43:33.
Ken Nakamura for the IAAF
1) Francis Kibiwott (KEN) 2:09:05
2) Silas Sang (KEN) 2:09:10
3) Moses Kangogo (KEN) 2:10:53
4) Alexey Sokolov (RUS) 2:10:59
5) Kiyokatsu Hasegawa 2:16:03
6) Ryoichi Matsuo 2:18:15
7) Shunsuke Sakai 2:18:39
8) Jun Hasegawa 2:19:12
1) Pauline Wangui (KEN) 2:34:22
2) Belaynesh Gebre Zemedkhun (ETH) 2:35:19
3) Rose Nyangacha (KEN) 2:36:18
4) Lauren Shelley (AUS) 2:37:13
5) Sayuri Baba 2:37:38
6) Chihiro Tanaka 2:42:34
5Km 15:35 Francis Kibiwott (KEN)
10Km 30:46 (15:01) Francis Kibiwott (KEN)
15Km 45:47 (15:01) Francis Kibiwott (KEN)
20Km 1:01:06 (15:19) Silas Sang (KEN)
Half 1:04:28 Silas Sang (KEN)
25Km 1:16:24 (15:18) Silas Sang (KEN)
30Km 1:31:42 (15:18) Silas Sang (KEN)
35Km 1:46:53 (15:11) Silas Sang (KEN)
40Km 2:02:20 (15:27) Francis Kibiwott (KEN)
2:02:20 Silas Sang (KEN)
Finish 2:09:05 (6:45) Francis Kibiwott (KEN)
5Km 17:14 Belaynesh Gebre Zemedkhun (ETH)
10Km 34:44 (17:00) Pauline Wangui (KEN)
15Km 52:18 (17:24) Belaynesh Gebre Zemedkhun (ETH)
20Km 1:10:12 (17:54) Pauline Wangui (KEN)
Half 1:14:05 Pauline Wangui (KEN)
25Km 1:28:23 (18:11) Pauline Wangui (KEN)
30Km 1:47:10 (18:47) Pauline Wangui (KEN)
1:47:11 Belaynesh Gebre Zemedkhun (ETH)
35Km 2:06:16 (19:06) Pauline Wangui (KEN)
2:06:18 Belaynesh Gebre Zemedkhun (ETH)
40Km 2:25:30 (19:14) Pauline Wangui (KEN)
2:26:12 Belaynesh Gebre Zemedkhun (ETH)
Finish 2:34:22 (8:52) Pauline Wangui (KEN)