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Kenya’s Vivian Kiplagat breaks race record at Mexico City Marathon

Vivian Kiplagat wins the Mexico City Marathon (Victah Sailer) © Copyright

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 26 – Vivian Kiplagat broke the women’s race record at the 37th Mexico City Marathon, while Duncan Maiyo’s victory in the men’s race made it a Kenyan double at the IAAF Gold Label event.

Kiplagat, 31, ran the second half of the race 10 minutes faster than the first to cross the finish line in 2:33:27, taking almost three minutes off the race record of 2:36:16 set by Peru’s Pan American Games champion Gladys Tejeda in 2017.

Duncan Maiyo slowed down significantly in the second half, but his lead was good enough to secure victory in 2:12:50, two minutes shy of the 2:10:38 race record established by his compatriot Titus Ekiru.

With about 13C heat and 80% humidity at the start, Mexico’s Fabiola Pérez led the group through the first 5km in a pedestrian 20:25.

The group of four Kenyan and four Ethiopian women took over and hit 10km in 39:40. By the time they reached the halfway mark, covered in 1:21:43, the group had shrunk to six.

Kiplagat and Paskalia Kipkoech reached the 25km point with a three-second lead over the chase pack of four women and gradually increased their leading margin. The former launched her attack at about 36km and Pamela Rotich could not respond.

Kiplagat, a two-time winner at the Milan Marathon, became the first Kenyan woman to win this race since 2011, crossing the line in 2:33:27. Kipkoech also finished inside the previous record in second place with 2:34:09. Rotich, who finished fifth last year, completed the all-Kenyan podium with 2:38:14.

In the men’s race, Kenya’s Mathew Kisorio, the only sub-2:05 man in the field, sped to the front early on and set a daring pace for a marathon contested at 2,240m above sea level.

With the course going downhill for the first eight kilometres, Kisorio covered the first 5km in 14:33, eight seconds ahead of Duncan Maiyo. By 10km, Maiyo had closed the gap to three seconds, 29:25 to 29:28, and remained in close contact at 15km (44:44 to 44:53).

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Kisorio kept up the pressure and hit the halfway mark on Reforma Avenue in 1:03:59 with a 32-second gap on Maiyo. The chase group, meanwhile, was 2:08 adrift.

But the fast pace eventually took its toll on Kisorio as he slowed down significantly at about 30km. With the clock reading 1:39:20, Maiyo caught up with the long-time leader and Kisorio abandoned the race soon after.

More than three minutes ahead of the chase pack, Maiyo cruised to his victory in 2:12:50. It was his first marathon triumph since 2016, his best season when he twice bettered 2:10, including his lifetime best of 2:09:25.

Ethiopia’s Girmay Birhanu (2:16:14) and Eritrea’s Amanuel Mesel (2:16:28) completed the podium.

Both winners were rewarded with Sh2.7 million ($27,000).

With a new and faster course, the only IAAF Gold Label marathon in Latin America drew about 25,000 runners.

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