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Mutiso Munyao, Jepchirchir capture 2024 London Marathon titles | CBC Sports



Kenyan distance runners Alexander Mutiso Munyao and Peres Jepchirchir ran to victory at Sunday’s London Marathon.

Mutiso Munyao won the men’s race and denied 41-year-old Kenenisa Bekele a first London Marathon victory by pulling away from the Ethiopian great with about three kilometres to go Sunday.

Mutiso Munyao and Bekele were in a two-way fight for the win until the Kenyan made his move as they ran along the River Thames, quickly building a six-second gap that only grew as he ran toward the finish in front of Buckingham Palace.

He finished in an unofficial time of two hours four minutes one second, with Bekele finishing 14 seconds behind. Emile Cairess of Britain was third, more than two minutes back.

Bekele, the Ethiopian former Olympic 10,000 and 5,000-metre champion, was also the runner-up in London in 2017 but has never won the race.

Jepchirchir favourite to repeat at Paris 2024

Jepchirchir pulled away late to win the women’s race and cement her status as the favourite to defend Olympic gold in Paris.

She had by far the strongest finish as she easily left world-record holder Tigst Assefa and two other rivals behind to sprint alone down the final stretch in front of Buckingham Palace. She finished in two hours 16 minutes 16 seconds, with Assefa in second and Joyciline Jepkosgei in third.

That was more than four minutes slower than Assefa’s world record set in Berlin last year, but it was the fastest time ever in a women-only marathon, beating the mark of 2:17:01 set by Mary Keitany in London in 2017.

Jepchirchir said Sunday’s event was the final qualifying race before Kenya’s Olympic selectors pick their team for Paris this summer.

“I was not expecting to run that time,” Jepchirchir said. “I was trying to work extra hard to defend my title in the Olympics.”

It was also a bit of redemption for Jepchirchir after finishing third in London last year, when she was beaten in a similarly tight finish and came in five seconds behind winner Sifan Hassan.

Coming out on top in a late sprint this time will only boost her confidence going into Paris.

“I think it helps me a lot,” she said. “For me, when I reach 800 metres [left], it’s difficult to defeat me.”

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