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Amos Kipruto led a top-ten sweep for Kenya at the Seoul Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, in the Korean capital on Sunday (19).

In a competitive race, the 25-year-old Kipruto pulled away after the 35th kilometre to claim a 2:05:54 victory, nine seconds clear of Felix Kipchirchir Kandie. It was a breakthrough run for Kipruto, who knocked more than two minutes from his previous best of 2:08:12 set last year in Rome.

For Kipchirchir Kandie it was also a lifetime best, eclipsing his 2:06:25 run set in Amsterdam last year.

Setting an ambitious sub-2:05 pace from the gun, a group of 11 quickly formed, and passed five kilometres in 14:45. That number was reduced by just two at 10 kilometres, reached in 29:43, still on target for a 2:05 finish.

The group held firm. Eight were still together at 30 kilometres (1:29:41), with seven remaining in contention at 35, where the clock read 1:44:39.

The next five-kilometre stretch would prove decisive with Kipruto making a move that the others couldn't match. Kipruto reached the 40th kilometre in 1:59:14, five seconds clear of Felix Kipchirchir who in turn was two seconds ahead of Korir. Kipruto pulled ahead further still over the last two kilometres to collect the nine-second victory.

Mark Korir, winner at the 2015 Paris Marathon and in Frankfurt last October, was next across the line in 2:06:05.

Nobert Kipkoech, 24, also produced a breakthrough, clocking 2:06:07 for fourth, an improvement of more than three minutes on his previous best.

Three-time Seoul winner Wilson Loyanae, who lowered the course record to 2:05:13, was fifth on this occasion, clocking 2:06:07.

Further back, Jacob Kibet was sixth 2:07:33. Victor Kipchirchir (2:08:52) in seventh and Filex Kipchirchir (2:09:56) in eighth also dipped under 2:10. 

AGAI HOLDS OFF BEKELE TO TAKE WOMEN’S TITLE

The women's contest took even longer to unravel, and wasn't decided until the final two kilometres. That's when Margaret Agai of Kenya pulled away from Ethiopia's Ashete Bekele Dido to win by five seconds in 2:25:52.

The race was off to a much more conservative start, with nine women reaching five kilometres in 17:59. With nobody willing to take command, the tempo remained steady on 2:30 pace, with nine still at the front through 15 kilometres, reached in 52:57.

The tempo picked up as the field approached the midway point. Seven remained in the lead pack at 20 kilometres (1:09:37), but was reduced to just four at 35 kilometres (2:01:50): Agai, Dido, Kenyan Mercy Jerotich and Ethiopian Aberu Mekuria.

The latter two dropped back over the next five kilometres leaving Agai and Dido to battle for the win. Agai succeeded, to maintain her notable record of finishing on the podium in each of her seven marathons. For the runner-up, her 2:25:57 run was the fourth fastest of her career.

Nearly a minute later, Jerotich edged Mekuria to round out the podium in 2:26:52, a 14-second improvement on her lifetime best for the 33-year-old.

Mekuria, the winner of February's Hong Kong Marathon, clocked 2:26:55 for fourth.

Priscah Jepleting, a former cross country standout, was fifth in 2:28:59. Janet Jelagat and Bornes Jepkirui were sixth and seventh, clocking 2:29:04 and 2:29:40 to also come home in under 2:30 - IAAF

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Kenya's Olympic silver medallist, Sally Kipyego, has announced that she is now an American citizen.

The 31-year-old, born in Kapsowar, Marakwet District, confirmed her newly acquired status on her Twitter account having landed in America over 12 years ago.

Kipyego won Kenya a silver medal in the 10,000 metres at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, Korea, finishing behind Vivian Cheruiyot. She achieved the same exploits at the 2012 Olympic Games in London in a race won by Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba.

Her personal best of 30:38.35 minutes in the 10,000m and her 5000 metres best of 14:30.42 minutes makes her the second fastest Kenyan woman for the distance.

Kipyego finished second at the 2016 New York City Marathon, clocking at sub-2:30 marathon time. Her emphasis is now on marathon but it would be interesting to see if she decides to do the long distance in the US where competition is not as rife as in her birth nation. She however remains a Kenyan citizen, thanks to Kenya's dual citizenship.

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Wilson Kipsang of Kenya missed out on the world record but ran the fastest time ever on Japanese soil to win the Tokyo Marathon in two hours, three minutes and 58 seconds on Sunday.

The 34-year-old was looking to better compatriot Dennis Kimetto's mark of 2:02.57 and wrest back the world record he lost in 2014 but was unable to take sufficient advantage of a new course design.

"Today I was really feeling good and the course was very nice," Kipsang said after receiving the trophy.

"I really enjoyed it and I was going for a world record but I think it was a little bit windy and that's why I couldn't run that time."

All six of the world record times recognized by the IAAF have been set at the Berlin marathon, including Kipsang's at the 2013 version.

Kipsang had said he would be aiming for a mark of 2:02.50 and, running at the front of the field behind a phalanx of blue-shirted East African pacemakers, was on course for it at the 10, 15 kilometer and halfway marks.

At the 30 kilometer mark, only compatriot Dickson Chumba was still with him and 10 kilometers later, he was on his own but slightly off the world record pace.

Gideon Kipketer (2:05.51) passed Chumba (2:06.25) on the final few kilometers to finish second in a Kenyan podium sweep.

The previous best time in Japan was Tsegaye Kebede's 2:05.18 at Fukuoka in 2009, while Mizuki Noguchi's Osaka mark of 2:21.18 had stood for the women since 2003.

 Sarah Chepchirchir ended that reign as Kenya also took the spoils in the women's race in 2:19.47, the 32-year-old leading home Ethiopians Birhane Dibaba (2:21.19) and Amane Gobena (2:23.09) 

Women’s Top 10:

1 Sarah Chepchirchir (KEN) 2:19:47
2 Birhane Dibaba (ETH) 2:21:19
3 Amane Gobena (ETH) 2:23:09
4 Ayaka Fujimoto (JPN) 2:27:08
5 Marta Lema (ETH) 2:27:37
6 Sara Hall (USA) 2:28:26
7 Madoka Nakano (JPN) 2:33:00
8 Kotomi Takayama (JPN) 2:34:44
9 Hiroko Yoshitomi (JPN)2:35:11
10 Mitsuko Ino (JPN) 2:39:33

MEN:

1 Wilson KIPSANG’, KEN (2:03:58)
2 Gideon KIPKETER, KEN (2:05:51)
3 Dickson CHUMBA, KEN (2:06:25)
4 Evans CHEBET, KEN (2:06:42)
5 Alfers LAGAT, KEN (2:07:39)
6 Bernard Kiprop KIPYEGO, KEN (2:08:10)
7 Yohanes GHEBREGERGISH, ETH (2:08:14)
8 Hiroto INOUE, JPN (2:08:22)
9 Tsegaye KEBEDE, ETH (2:08:45)
1 Hiroyuki YAMAMOTO, JPN (2:09:12)
11 Yuta SHITARA, JPN (2:09:27)
12 Solomon DEKSISA, ETH (2:09:31)
13 Yuma HATTORI , ETH (2:09:46)
14 Masato IMAI, JPN (2:11:02)
15 Takuya NOGUCHI, JPN (2:11:04)
16 Yuki TAKAMIYA, JPN (2:11:05)
17 Geoffrey RONOH, KEN (2:11:20
18 Yuki NAKAMURA, JPN (2:12:58)
19 Akihiko TSUMURAI, JPN (2:13:27)
20 Ryo HASHIMOTO, JPN (2:13:29)

TOKYO MARATHON KENYA WINNERS:

WOMEN:

2017 – Sarah Chepchirchir (2:19:47)
2016 – Helen Kiprop (2:21.27) After four past consecutive wins for Ethiopia
2000 – Joyce Chepchumba (2:24.02)

MEN:
2017 – Wilson Kipsang’ (2:03:58)
2014 – Dickson Chumba (2:05.42)
2013 – Dennis Kimetto (2:06.50)
2012 – Michael Kipyego (2:07.37)
2009 – Salim Kipsang’ (2:10.27)
2007 – Daniel Njenga (2:09.45)
2004 – Daniel Njenga (2:08.43)
2002 – Eric Wainaina (2:08.43)
2000 – Japhet Kosgei (2:07.15)
1995 – Eric Wainaina (2:10.31)

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Usain Bolt will have to hand back one of his nine Olympic gold medals after Jamaican team-mate Nesta Carter tested positive for a banned substance.

Carter was part of the Jamaican quartet that won the 4x100m in Beijing in 2008.

His was one of 454 selected doping samples retested by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) last year, and has been found to contain the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine. 

Bolt, 30, completed an unprecedented 'triple triple' in Rio last summer.

He won gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay to add to his successes in the same events in 2008 and 2012.

Carter, 31, was also part of the squad that won the event in London five years ago and helped Jamaica win at the World Championships in 2011, 2013 and 2015.

He ran the first leg for Jamaica's 4x100m relay team in Beijing, which also included Michael Frater, Asafa Powell and Bolt.

The team won in a then world record of 37.10 seconds, ahead of Trinidad and Tobago and Japan, who will now have their medals upgraded. Brazil will receive bronze.

Carter was tested on the evening of the Beijing final in 2008 but that was found at the time to contain no "adverse analytical finding".

More than 4,500 tests were carried out at those Games, but just nine athletes were caught cheating.

An anomaly was discovered in Carter's submission following the IOC's decision to retest 454 samples from Beijing using the latest scientific analysis methods. 

Carter and the Jamaican National Olympic Committee were told of the adverse finding in May - before the Rio Games - and told his B sample would be tested. 

It was reported by Reuters in June that Carter's A sample had been found to contain methylhexanamine, which has been on the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) prohibited list since 2004.

It was reclassified in 2011 as a "specified substance", meaning one that is more susceptible to a "credible, non-doping explanation".

Sold as a nasal decongestant in the United States until 1983, methylhexanamine has been used more recently as an ingredient in dietary supplements.

It takes the shine off Bolt's achievement. Eight doesn't have the same ring - 'double treble, plus two'.

It will be really frustrating for him. You can only account for yourself, you cannot account for your team-mates.

We know it has nothing to do with Usain Bolt - it will not damage his reputation - but it will affect it, take shine off it and he won't be a happy man.

When I hear stories like this, a part of me does celebrate. If athletes think they have got away with, then with retrospective testing they can never sleep peacefully. 

It has to be the strongest deterrent the sport now has. Even when athletes retire they can still have their medals taken away. That is a really good deterrent.

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Kenya's Peres Jepchirchir, 23, broke the world record by running a sensational 65:06 at the 2017 RAK Half Marathon Friday morning to defeat Mary Keitany as they waged an epic duel in a race that featured arguably the greatest women’s half marathon field ever assembled.

Jepchirchir, the 2016 World Half Marathon champion, ran a negative split to break Florence Kiplagat’s 65:09 world record from 2015. Each of Jepchirchir’s 5k splits in the 21.1 km/13.1 mile race were faster than the previous as she ran 15:37 for the first 5km segment, then 15:27, 15:24 and 15:10 from 15k to 20k to finally drop Keitany. At that point, Jepchirchir was chasing history.

Jepchirchir dug extremely deep for the world record. Her form was completely falling apart as she neared the finish line (she slowed the final 1.0975km, running 15:43 pace for that stretch of the race), her face sporting an intense grimace as her torso swayed from side to side. Jepchirchir managed to hang on before collapsing immediately after the finish line, where she had to be carried away from the finish area. 

Karoki takes men's title

2015 World Cross Country and 2016 World Half Marathon silver medallist Bedan Karoki of Kenya won the men’s race in a new pb of 59:10 as 1:44 800 man Augustine Choge ran 59:26.

The race was not just historic for the time, but whom Jepchirchir beat. Mary Keitany finished as runner-up today in 65:13 (putting her third on the all-time list), and this was the first time she had lost a half marathon since 2007. Olympic marathon champion Jemima Sumgong was fourth in 65:43, with three-time Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba, arguably the greatest female distance runner of all time, fifth in a pb of 66:50 (previous pb 66:56), a whopping 1:45 behind Jepchirchir.

Jepchirchir took home just about $113,000 for the world record as there was essentially a $100,000 world record bonus. She got $13,612.85 for the win and $99,373.81 for the WR – a fact she was unaware of until broadcaster Rob Walker broke the news to her on air after the race.

“I was not thinking that I can run world record but it’s God’s plan,” Jepchirchir told Walker. “I’m so happy. I’m not even believing myself that I ran a world record.” 

Jepchirchir said that her future plans are up in the air.

“My plans now, maybe I’m going to go home, find my manager, he will tell me what to follow. I can’t choose for myself, he’s the one choosing for me.”

However, she did hint that those plans may involve a marathon debut.

“Now I’ve started preparation for [the] marathon,” Jepchirchir said.

Male rabbit

Jepchirchir had battled pneumonia in the fall, and said she was sick again earlier this week. But any doubts about her fitness were quickly put to rest as she, Keitany, a male rabbit and Joyciline Jepkosgei, who entered with a HM best of 69:07 and only started racing competitively in 2015, dropped everyone else just after five miles. For a while, Dibaba, Sumgong and 2015 World marathon silver medallist hung a few seconds behind in a second lead pack, but the top three were too good and stretched their lead after passing 10k in 31:05.

After 15k, Jepchirchir pulled up alongside the rabbit and launched an attack that dropped Jepkosgei and left Keitany struggling to hold on. Though Keitany would hang a few steps behind Jepchirchir through 17k, the pace would eventually prove too hot for her as Jepchirchir split a phenomenal 30:33 from 10k to 20k. She was steadily gaining on world record pace, and at 19k was projected to run 65:05, four seconds under the old mark.

Jepchirchir, who ran directly behind the male pacer during much of the final stage of the race, slowed dramatically over the final kilometer, saying that she was having trouble breathing from 800 meters to the finish line, but she had banked enough time by that point and after collapsing at the finish line seemed full of energy at the awards ceremony half an hour later.

Keitany was close to the old record as well, clocking a remarkable 65:13 to set a 37-second PR at age 35, while Jepkosgei provided the biggest shock of all, taking third in 66:08, putting her #7 all-time. Hellah Kiprop, 6th, and Veronicah Nyaruai, 8th, ensured that Kenya occupied six of the top 10 positions. A former Kenyan, Rose Chelimo was 7th for adopted nation Bahrain.

Karoki

In the men’s race, Karoki made it through 15k in 42:05 (59:11 pace) alongside Olympic 10k fourth placer Yigrem Demelash of Ethiopia and Choge, who earned World Indoor bronze over 3,000 meters last year. Karoki continued to push and opened up a 10-meter gap, but he continued to check on his rivals over his shoulders, suggesting that he did not expect his move to be a winning one.

He was correct, and within a few minutes both men had closed the gap, with Choge actually pulling ahead. The pace remained fair but not brutal from 15k to 20k (14:05) for Karoki, and the three men remained close until about two kilometers remained, when Karoki launched another attack. This time it proved decisive and he coasted home in 59:10, though he, like Jepchirchir fell to the ground just after finishing. Demelash, who was only fifth at the Houston Half Marathon last month in 61:59, ran a big personal best of 59:19 for second, while Choge’s 59:26 was a 35-second PR. - Letsrun.com

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Organisers of the Indoor Meeting Karlsruhe have announced that Olympic silver medallist Hellen Obiri and British 1500m record-holder Laura Muir will race over 3000m at the IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting on 4 February.

Both athletes will be seeking their first victory in the German city. Obiri finished second over 1500m in Karlsruhe in 2012 before going on to win the world indoor 3000m title one month later. Muir, meanwhile, finished second over 3000m in 2015.

Obiri and Muir have been in the form of their life over the past 12 months. Obiri clocked season’s bests of 3:59.34 for 1500m and 8:24.27 for 3000m before going on to take the Olympic 5000m silver medal in Rio and ended her summer season with a PB of 14:25.78 at that distance. Her form has continued through the winter and the Kenyan has won numerous cross-country races in recent months against quality fields.

Muir broke Kelly Holmes’ British 1500m record with her 3:57.49 run at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London last summer. She improved it to 3:55.22 in Paris and ended the year as the Diamond Race winner in the event. Earlier this month, she smashed the British indoor 5000m record with a time of 14:49.12.

Obiri holds the Kenyan indoor 3000m record at 8:29.99. Muir's outright PB of 8:38.47, set outdoors in early 2015, looks due for revision and she may have one eye on the British indoor record of 8:31.50. Both runners could also challenge the meeting record of 8:35.28 set by Meseret Defar in 2013.

Obiri and Muir will line up against the top two finishers from the 1500m in Karlsruhe last year: Ethiopia’s 2014 world indoor silver medallist Axumawit Embaye and Germany’s world U20 3000m bronze medallist Konstanze Klosterhalfen - IAAF

2017 IAAF World Indoor Tour calendar
28 Jan – Boston, USA
1 Feb – Dusseldorf, GER
4 Feb – Karlsruhe, GER
10 Feb – Torun, POL
18 Feb – Birmingham, GBR

 

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