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August 9, 2021

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Kenyans make it look easy in marathon

Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya pulled away late and pretty much went for a stroll in the park — Odori Park — as the 36-year-old Kenyan defended his Olympic marathon title yesterday.

Immediately after his finish, he held up two fingers to acknowledge his back-to-back marathon titles.

On Saturday, Peres Jepchirchir led a Kenyan 1-2 finish in the women’s marathon. Jepchirchir’s winning time of 2 hours, 27 minutes, 20 seconds was not fast — 10 minutes off her personal best — but it was still sizzling considering the conditions.

Kipchoge finished in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 38 seconds on a breezy and humid day along the streets of Sapporo. It was 80 seconds ahead of runner-up Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands. Bashir Abdi of Belgium earned bronze to close out the track and field portion of the Tokyo Games.

This was a running clinic put on by Kipchoge, who even fist-bumped a fellow racer. Kipchoge becomes the third athlete to win multiple gold medals in the men’s marathon, joining Abebe Bikila (1960, 1964) and Waldemar Cierpinski (1976, 1980).

Taking the starting line were 106 runners. Finishing were far less, with 30 not making it to the end.

Along the way, runners were treated to actual fans clapping and cheering. One fan even brought drums, making the atmosphere feel almost normal. Spectators haven’t been allowed in the venues during the Tokyo Olympics because of coronavirus protocols.


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