Wilson Loyanai improves to 2:09:23 in Gyeongju (Gyeongju organisers) © Copyright
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Loyanai leads Kenyan sweep in Gyeongju

16 October 2011Kenyan Wilson Loyanai clocked a 2:09:23 personal best to win the 2011 Dong-A Ilbo Gyeongju International Marathon, an IAAF Silver Label Road Race, on Sunday (16).

Coming to Gyeongju, Loyanai had produced very little of note although he did win his only previous contest over the distance, the 2011 Mombasa Marathon in May, where he clocked 2:13:00.

In Gyeongju on Sunday morning the race started with the top eight men in a clear lead already after the first five kilometres. The start to the race was fast with the same eight runners still together at 10 km which was reached in 30:34. Still in the top group were Kenyan favourites Sylvester Teimet and Yusuf Songoka, who had the fastest pre-race results. There were absolutely no changes with the same group passing 15 km in 45:50 and 20 km in 1:01:09. But the next two 5 km splits were much slower making a really fast time impossible after this point.

Before the 25th kilometre was reached Songoka was dropped off the group quickly falling well behind. The split for the others was 1:16:59 for the slowest 5 km 15:50. The next 5 km was then the slowest in the race, at just 16:28 with the same seven runners still together. The deciding move in the race was made soon after this with three runners - Loyanai and fellow Kenyans Michael Kimani and Felix Keny - left in the fight for the win. Loyanai had just edged the other Kenyans at 35 km which he reached in 1:48:10 for the fastest 5 km of the race in 14:43. Kimani was just two seconds behind at this stage with Keny a further five seconds behind Kimani.

But then the race was decided well before the 40 km point with Loyanai having established a lead of more than half a minute before passing this distance in 2:02:56. Loyanai went on to win in a 2:09:23 personal best with Kimani in second, clocking 2:10:29. Keny finished third in 2:11:19. The first non-Kenyan in the race was in fourth place where Moldova’s Iaroslav Musinchi set a season’s best 2:12:07 ahead of Russian Oleg Kulkov who was fifth in 2:12:12.

The women’s race was won by Korean Lim Kyung-Hee in 2:38:21.

Mirko Jalava for the IAAF