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Lonyangata reclaims Shanghai Marathon title

Kenyan distance runner Paul Lonyangata (AFP/Getty Images) © Copyright

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 17 – Kenya’s Paul Lonyangata dominated the men’s title at the Shanghai International Marathon, a World Athletics Gold Label road race, on Sunday.

The 26-year-old Lonyangata broke clear before 35km and led alone the rest of the way to hit home with a clocking of 2:28:11, 57 seconds shy of the 2:07:14 course record he set in the Chinese city in 2015.

“It has been five years since I run here last time,” Lonyangata said. “I noticed nobody had broke my course record so I came back to break it myself. But the weather was much hotter than five years ago.”

The temperature was around 15 degrees when the race started but rose quickly. When the men’s leaders reached 20km 1:00:12, it was already near 20 degrees.

A group of 12 runners led the race to a fast pace in the early stages, reaching 5km in 14:57 and 10km in 29:58. When the leaders passed the 15km mark in 45:01 they were already 47 seconds ahead of the course record, and by 20km they were still six seconds ahead.

But the pace slowed after 20km and when the last pace maker left the seven-runner leading pack, the leaders were 43 seconds behind the record time.

“I think the pacers stopped too early. One of the two pacers stopped after 11 kilometres and the other left by 25km. Because of the weather and the pace maker, I did not break the course record,” said Lonyangata, who decided to control the race with his own pace after 30km and pulled clear by 35 km before breaking the tape in style to celebrate his first marathon victory of the year.

Hassan El Abbassi of Bahrain, who set the Asian record of 2:04:43 last year in Valencia, finished second in 2:08:58, followed by Lmenih Getachew of Ethiopia with a clocking of 2:09:14.

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