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Jepchirchir crushes women’s-only world record in winning London Marathon



Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya celebrates after winning the Women’s elite race. — AFP/File

LONDON, April 21 (Reuters) – Reigning Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir crushed the women’s-only world record in winning the 44th London Marathon on Sunday, while Kenyan compatriot Alexander Mutiso Munyao pulled away from Ethiopian distance great Kenenisa Bekele to win the men’s race.

The 30-year-old Jepchirchir crossed the finish line in front of Buckingham Palace in two hours 16 minutes 16 seconds to break Mary Keitany’s mark of 2:17:01 set in a women-only race at the 2017 London event.

Jepchirchir pulled away from a group of four in a sprint finish before collapsing to her knees in tears having beaten the fastest field of women ever assembled. “I thought the race would be fast and that the record would go, but I was not expecting it to be me,” Jepchirchir said. “It’s because I believe in myself. As I crossed the finish line, I thought about how grateful I am for this to be my last event representing Kenya before I head to Paris (Olympics). I now know I have a great chance to defend my title in Paris.”

Munyao, 27, who was pushed by Bekele until the final couple of kilometres, won the men’s race in 2:04.01, pumping his fist several times en route to the biggest victory of his career. “I’m happy for winning the race today and at 40 kilometres I got some pressure from Kenenisa Bekele but I had a lot of confidence because I trained for this race,” Munyao said. “So I said: let me be confident.

“After 40 kilometres, I thought I had energy enough to win today’s marathon.” He was hoping the victory would be enough to earn him a spot on Kenya’s powerhouse Olympic team for the Paris marathon in August.

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