Kenya's Wilson Loyanae won the Seoul International Marathon in 2:06:11, the second fastest winning time in the history of the IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on Sunday (15).
Only Loyanae himself, when setting the current course record of 2:05:37 in 2012 has gone faster in this race.
Felix Kipchirchir Kiprotich improved his personal best by just over a minute when finishing second in 2:06:59, coming through strongly over the final five kilometres, and it was an all-Kenyan podium in the men’s race as Jacob Kibet was third in 2:07:48.
After the leaders went through the first half of the race in a quick 1:02:57, which was clearly designed to give the top runners a chance to attack Loyanae’s three-year-old mark, Loyanae pushed hard just after 30km to splinter the leading pack.
A 14:18 5km split between 30-35km, with the latter checkpoint reached in 1:44:53 and the course record still a possibility, left his rivals a long way down the road.
Kibet went through 35km 15 seconds behind his compatriot in second place before being overtaken by Kipchirchir Kiprotich at around 39 kilometres.
Loyanae then went through 40km in 1:59:36, a course record seemingly a good possibility, but with no one to challenge him over the final two kilometres and evidently tiring, it gradually slipped from his grasp and his final two kilometres were a slightly weary 6:35.
The Kenyan trio were followed home by three men from neighbouring Ethiopia, among them 2014 champion Yacob Jarso.
Having talked himself about the possibility of a course record before the race, Jaro finished down in sixth place in 2:09:38.
Switzerland’s Abraham Tadesse, who ran 1:00:42 to win the Barcelona Half Marathon, failed in his bid to Viktor Rothlin’s national record of 2:07:23 and could only finish a modest 10th in 2:11:37
The women’s title went to pre-race favourite Guteni Shone, from Ethiopia.
Although she could not get close to her impressive personal best of 2:23:32, set when finishing second in Houston in January, she crossed the line in 2:26:22 to finish almost two minutes clear of her nearest rival.
Local hope Kim Seong-Eun, who had finished fourth in this race for the past three years and fifth in 2010, finally made the podium when finishing second in 2:28:20 with China’s Xueqin Wang third in 2:28:39.
This year was the 71st edition of an event which was first run in 1931 over 14.5 miles and, despite several interruptions due to World War II and the Korean War, it is the third oldest road race in Asia and only supplanted for antiquity by two Japanese Ekidens.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF
1. Wilson Loyanae (KEN) 2:06:11
2. Felix Kipchirchir Kiprotich (KEN) 2:06:59
3. Jacob Kibet (KEN) 2:07:47
4. Dadi Yami Gemeda (ETH) 2:08:05
5. Abreham Cherkos (ETH) 2:08:14
6. Yakob Jarso (ETH) 2:09:38
1. Guteni Shone (ETH) 2:26:22
2. Kim Seong Eun (KOR) 2:28:20
3. Xueqin Wang (CHN) 2:28:39
4. Chao Yue (CHN) 2:29:26
5. Chaltu Chimdesa Kumsa (ETH) 2:30:28
6. Megumi Amako (JPN) 2:34:28