Nairobi, Oct 10 (IANS) Chicago marathon champion Abel Kirui, who has not won a marathon since his triumph at the 2011 World Championships, is eyeing his third title in the competition, and to become the first man to do so in London 2017 where the World Championships will be held.
“I have done well to show that I still have the energy and the tactics to win big city marathons,” he said on Monday.
“What remains is to prove in another event that the win in Chicago was no fluke. I have trained hard and deserve the credit and will continue to prove to my critics that I was in the best of my shape.”
With the odds against him Kirui emerged from the shadows of defending champion Dickson Chumba on Sunday to affirm his spot among the greatest marathon runners to claim the Chiocago title in 2:11:23, which is almost eight minutes off the course mark set by Dennis Kimetto in 2014.
It was however, Kirui’s first marathon win since the 2011 World Championships, which proved that he has still got it as it was a victory in a tactical contest ahead of reigning champion Dickson Chumba (2:11:26).
Kirui hopes to race in the London Marathon next year ahead of the World Championships where he could aim for a third gold medal, reports Xinhua.
Kenyan runners occupied the top five places with Gideon Kipketer (2:12:20), Paul Lonyangata (2:13:17) and debutant Stephen Sambu (2:13:35) next to finish with Ethiopia’s Ayanleh Abele sixth in 2:13:52.
Diego Estrada was the top American finisher in eighth in 2:13:56. While the winning time in the men’s race was the slowest since 1993, the women’ s race was one of the fastest in recent years.
Florence Kiplagat dropped a 16:17 5 km split between 30-35 km to break away from the lead group and defend her title in 2:21:32 to become the first back-to-back winner of the women’s race since Berhane Adere in 2007.
Former World champion Edna Kiplagat was second in 2:23:28 with Valentine Kipketer, the sister of Gideon, third in 2:23:41.
Boston Marathon winner Atsede Baysa from Ethiopia was sixth in 2:28:53, one place ahead of top American finisher Serena Burla (2:30:40).