Kimetto leads Kenyan sweep at Tokyo Marathon

AP, Sunday 24 Feb 2013

Dennis Kimetto set a race record of 2 hours, 6 minutes, 50 seconds Sunday to lead a Kenyan sweep of the podium at the Tokyo Marathon

Dennis Kimetto

Kimetto won his first marathon in only the second start of his career while taking 33 seconds off the previous mark set by Viktor Rothlin of Switzerland in 2008. Last year's winner, Michael Kipyego, finished eight seconds behind Kimetto, while Bernard Kipyego took third place in 2:07:53.

The 29-year-old Kimetto, the runner-up in his debut at Berlin last year, held a narrow lead over Kipyego over the last 6 miles before pulling away.

''I was pretty sure of winning the race after 35 kilometers so I just tried to keep my pace,'' Kimetto said.

Japan's Kazuhiro Maeda was fourth in 2:08:00.

Ethiopia's Aberu Kebede won the women's race in 2:25:34. Yeshi Esayias, also of Ethiopia, finished second, almost 30 seconds back, with Irina Mikitenko of Germany, the World Marathon Majors champion in 2008 and 2009, taking third in 2:26:41.

The women's race started fast but didn't close that way because of strong winds.

''It was too windy to pursue the course record,'' Kebede said. ''It was especially tough between 37 and 41 kilometers because of both wind and hill.''

The event was making its debut as a World Marathon Majors race, joining Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York.

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