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Debutant Ndungu soars to Lake Biwa title

TOKYO, Japan, March 4- Debutant Samuel Ndungu won the 67th annual Lake Biwa Marathon on Sunday with the clock stopping at 2:07:04.

Ndungu, who joined Aichi Steel corporate team in April 2007, thus completed the second fastest debut on Japanese soil after the late Olympic champion Samuel Wanjiru’s 2:06:39 ran at the Fukuoka Marathon in the same year.

“It was a little cold at the beginning but my body started to warm up after 20Km, so I pushed from there,” Ndungu, who was a pace maker last year told IAAF after the race.

Ndungu won last year’s Marugame Half Marathon with personal best of 1:00:55. and unlike defending Fukuoka Marathon champion Josphat Ndambiri, who has a sub-27:00 10,000m best, Ndungu’s 5000m best is 13:28.44 and 10000m best is 27:48.03. Thus, it was doubtful that anybody expected him to run 2:07 in his debut.

Behind Ndungu, Henryk Szost set a new Polish record of 2:07:39 in second place, while Abdellah Taghrafet of Morocco was third in 2:08:37.

Ndungu took the lead at the 28.6Km mark and as the front runners headed toward the stadium, the wind was now against them, but the eight-man lead pack covered the 25K to 30Km (1:30:14) in 14:51.

After the 31Km water station, Ndungu started to pull ahead while compatriot Nicholas Kamakya (who did not finish) and Takeshiro Deki, the hard chasers, fell behind.

By 31.7Km Ndungu who covered 31 to 32Km in 2:55, pulled ahead and continued to extend his lead before charging to the tape ahead of all.

Leading Results:

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1. Samuel Ndungu (KEN) 2:07:04 Debut

2. Henryk Szost (POL) 2:07:39 POL record

3. Abdellah Taghrafet (MAR) 2:08:37

4. Ryo Yamamoto 2:08:44 Personal Best

5. Kentaro Nakamoto 2:08:53 Personal Best

6. Tomoyuki Morita 2:09:12 Debut

7. Takashi Horiguchi 2:09:16 Personal Best

8. Masashi Hayashi 2:09:55 Personal Best

9. Takeshiro Deki 2:10:02

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10. Ernest Kebenei (KEN) 2:10:04

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