William Kipsang pulled off his first Marathon win since his famous victory at the 2008 Rotterdam Marathon when he won the 11th edition of the International Beirut Marathon – ‘The Banque du Liban Beirut Marathon’ – taking the honours at the IAAF Bronze Label Road Race in 2:13:34 on Sunday (10).
It was also the Kenyan’s fastest time since his win in the Dutch city, when he set his personal best of 2:05:49, and he ended a six-year Ethiopian winning streak in Beirut, becoming the first Kenyan winner in the Lebanese capital since 2006.
Kipsang broke away from the leading group shortly after the halfway point and went through 30km in 1:33:56, with a 19-second lead over the five men in the chasing group.
Over the next five kilometres, Kipsang worked hard and by 35km, passed in 1:49:52, his lead had grown to 39 seconds with Kenya’s Benjamin Serem and Sammy Malakwen, along with Ethiopia’s Gemechu Lemma, still together around 250 metres in arrears.
Serem then started to chase his compatriot over the final five kilometres but could not quite reel him in, crossing the line second in 2:13:45. Lemma was third in 2:14:17 and Malakwen fourth in 2:14:47.
Race favourite Kedir Fekadu, who won in 2012 in 2:12:57, was part of the chasing group at 30km but soon afterwards the Ethiopian started to struggle and he finished a disappointing seventh in 2:17.07.
In sharp contrast to the rainy conditions of 12 months ago, this year there was surprising and unseasonably warm weather, with temperatures reaching 23 degrees Celsius during the race, which meant that the course record of 2:11:14, set in 2011 by Ethiopia’s Tariku Jufar, was always likely to remain intact despite the 7am start.
Ethiopian runners took the first two places in the women’s race with Rehime Kedir Robel first in 2:33:29, the seventh successive Ethiopian women's winner, and her compatriot Shuko Genemo Wote second in 2:36:47.
The first local runner across the line was Omar Issa, who finished ninth in 2:32 51. The first Lebanese woman home was Nicole Elias in 3:23:01.
More than 36,000 runners participated in the various races. In addition to the Marathon, there were various youth and fun runs.
Phil Minshull and organisers for the IAAF