OTSU, Japan, March 3 – World Championships silver medallist Vincent Kipruto emerged victorious in a shoulder-to-shoulder battle against Tariku Jufar of Ethiopia in the last 200 metres to win the Lake Biwa marathon on Sunday.
Kipruto, running alone with Jufar after Japan-based Kenyan James Mwangi slowed down in the last two kilometres, spurted at the final corner to overtake Jufar before crossing the finishing line in two hours eight minutes 34 seconds.
Jufar was second in 2:08:37 and Mwangi, who will return to Kenya after the race, was third in 2:08:48. The best local runner was Masakazu Fujiwara in fourth place in 2:08:51.
“The race was very nice. I enjoyed it. It’s just nice,” said the 25-year-old Kenyan, the winner in Paris in 2009.
“I knew I needed to run faster in the last track race, because I knew Tariku was strong,” he added.
Soon after the last pace-setters abandoned the race at the 30km mark, a front-running group of some 22 runners was reduced to seven, including Kipruto and Jufar, in the following three kilometres.
Kipruto and Jufar moved up the pace shortly before the 38km point to leave two Japanese runners behind. Mwangi also faded out leaving the rest of the race to Kipruto and Jufar.
1: Vincent Kipruto (KEN) 2hr 08min 34sec
2. Tariku Jufar (ETH) 2:08:37
3. James Mwangi (KEN) 2:08:48
4. Masakazu Fujiwara (JPN) 2:08:51
5. Ryo Yamamoto (JPN) 2:09:06
6. Suehiro Ishikawa (JPN) 2:09:10
7. Kohei Matsumura (JPN) 2:10:12
8. Viktor Rothlin (SUI) 2:10:18
9. Tomoya Adachi (JPN) 2:10:22
10. Hideaki Tamura (JPN) 2:10:54