TORONTO, Canada, Oct 22 – Kenya’s Benson Kipruto put up a spirited performance to clinch the 2018 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in a time of two hours, seven minutes and 24 seconds ahead of Tanzania’s Augustino Sulle who finished second in a new national record of two hours, seven minutes and 46 seconds.
Kenya’s Felix Kandie pulled together in the final five kilometres to finish third in two hours, eight minutes and 30 seconds.
The three pacemakers took the elite group through half way in 1:03:18, almost exactly to what had been discussed during the pre-race technical meeting.
The Kenyans Kandie, John Korir, Kipruto together with New Zealand’s Jake Robertson and Tanzania’s Sulle made up the leading pack.
Missing from the front were two pre-race favourites: 2012 Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda and two-time defending champion Philemon Rono of Kenya were nowhere to be seen.
The Ugandan would later reveal he felt the cold while standing on the start line while Rono suffered a calf cramp. By 35 kilometres Robertson was dropped and so too was Kandie.
Then, with a look over his shoulder Kipruto went to work. He won the race with Sulle setting a Tanzanian national record while Kandie came across the line third.
“I trained very well in Kenya and I was prepared,” Kipruto declared. “I knew it was a very strong field with Philemon Rono and also Stephen Kiprotich from Uganda and also Jake Robertson; he is a strong guy. I knew I had a strong field (to face).
“I am satisfied with the time because today was a terrible time, very cold. I thought at 38km that I would win the race. I tried to push there and I did. After winning this race I know my name will be lifted up and now prepared to go to major races.”
Meanwhile, Bahrain’s Mimi Belete claimed victory in the women’s race, setting a new course record of two hours, 22 minutes and 29 seconds.
Her victory in this IAAF Gold Label Road Race certainly didn’t come without a tough battle mostly from the defending champion, Ethiopian Marta Megra who finished in 2:22:35 and Kenya’s Ruth Chebotek who claimed third place, clocking 2:23:29.
-Personal best times
The first four – Australia’s two-time Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Jess Trengove ran 2:25:59 for fourth – all achieved personal best times in a surprising turn of events.
“I knew in the last few kilometres I had to push hard,” said Belete, who was all smiles at the finish. “I thought I would see what happens.
“Because of the training I had done – I had done good training – I knew they were strong but I was stronger today.”