Kirui and Chelimo win marathon titles at worlds

Kenya's Geoffrey Kipkorir Kirui looks back to see that he is clear on his way to winning the gold medal in the Men's Marathon during the World Athletics Championships Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
United States' Amy Cragg, Britain's Alyson Dixon and Kenya's Edna Kiplagat, from left, they pass by the Tower of London during the women's marathon of the World Athletics Championships in London Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Bahrain's Rose Chelimo celebrates after finishing in gold medal position in the Women's Marathon during the World Athletics Championships Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
Bahrain's gold medal winner Rose Chelimo, United States' bronze medal winner Amy Cragg, United States' Serena Burla and Kenya's silver medal winner Edna Kiplagat, from left, compete in the women's marathon during the World Athletics Championships in London Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Kenya's Edna Ngeringwony Kiplagat, silver, Bahrain's Rose Chelimo, gold and Amy Cragg of the United States, bronze, during the medal ceremony after the Women's Marathon during the World Athletics Championships Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Kenya's Geoffrey Kipkorir Kirui celebrates after winning the gold medal in the Men's Marathon during the World Athletics Championships Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017.(AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
Kenya's Geoffrey Kipkorir Kirui celebrates after winning the gold medal in the Men's Marathon during the World Athletics Championships Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017.(AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
Kenya's Geoffrey Kipkorir Kirui, right, leads Ethiopia's Tamirat Tola past the Guildhall on his way to winning the gold medal in the Men's Marathon during the World Athletics Championships Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Bahrain's gold medal winner Rose Chelimo, United States' bronze medal winner Amy Cragg, United States' Serena Burla and Kenya's silver medal winner Edna Kiplagat, from left, compete in the women's marathon during the World Athletics Championships in London Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Kenya's Geoffrey Kipkorir Kirui celebrates after winning the gold medal in the Men's Marathon during the World Athletics Championships Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017.(AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
Amy Cragg of the United States, bronze, Bahrain's Rose Chelimo, gold and Kenya's Edna Ngeringwony Kiplagat, silver, celebrate after the Women's Marathon during the World Athletics Championships Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

LONDON — Kenyan marathoner Geoffrey Kirui took a quick glance over his shoulder, just to see if anyone was possibly closing the gap.

Nobody remotely in sight. He crossed the finish line on Tower Bridge in easy fashion, 82 seconds ahead of his closest pursuer.

A few hours later, a much different scene unfolded in the women's race. That marathon practically ended up in a sprint as Rose Chelimo had to pull away from two-time world champion Edna Kiplagat for a seven-second victory.

A blowout and a close call in a marathon doubleheader at the world championships Sunday.

"I was not expecting to win today," said Chelimo, who is from Kenya but now competes for Bahrain. "I tried my best and I managed to become the world champion."

In the morning, Kirui bided his time and saved his strength for a late surge that sent him to the runaway victory. In doing so, he earned Kenya its fifth world title in the men's marathon.

"This is the best moment of my career, easily," said Kirui, who also won the Boston Marathon in April.

Chelimo and a few other runners remained tightly packed late into the women's race. And when Kiplagat took off, she wondered if she had the strength to catch the Kenyan again.

She did.

"This is one of the best days in my life," said Chelimo, who finished in 2 hours, 27 minutes, 11 seconds.

The real competition was for the silver medal, where Kiplagat barely held off hard-charging American runner Amy Cragg. It was a big day for Cragg, who took third to earn the first women's world marathon medal for the United States since Marianne Dickerson placed second in 1983.

A medal for Cragg was very much in limbo, too, with four racers vying for the podium down the stretch.

"I was like, 'This is the moment I'll remember — whether or not I pushed to get closer or gave in,'" Cragg said. "It was really painful. I decided to go for it."

The 24-year-old Kirui had such a big lead he spent the last part of the race waving to the crowd as he made his way across the finish line. He won in 2:08:27 — 1:22 ahead of Tamirat Tola of Ethiopia. Alphonce Simbu of Tanzania finished third.

"I was very, very prepared well for this race," Kirui said.

That's why he resisted the temptation to chase after Tola when the Ethiopian made a move in the latter stages of the race. Kirui was betting that Tola wouldn't be able to hold that pace to the finish.

He was right. Kirui waited a few more minutes and then reeled in Tola, who was dealing with an injury to his left Achilles tendon. Tola couldn't follow as Kirui breezed by him.

"I do not feel like I lost the gold medal," Tola said. "Although I was in pain, I was able to finish the marathon."

Tola earned a bronze in the 10,000 meters at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. He won a marathon in Dubai this season and a half-marathon in Prague.

But this wasn't his type of course, with all the tight turns around the four 10-kilometer loops. It was certainly scenic, with the route taking the runners along the edge of the River Thames at times and passing by London landmarks like St. Paul's Cathedral.

"The course was difficult for me with so many curves," Tola said. "I have never run a course like this."

It was to the liking of Kirui.

"Best course and the best crowd I have seen at a marathon," he said.

British marathoner Callum Hawkins finished in fourth. He was fueled at the end by the cheers.

"It was crazy," Hawkins said. "The last 5K, I couldn't even hear my own footsteps."

___

More AP track coverage: https://www.apnews.com/tag/London2017

You may also interested in

Shanghai Shenhua accuses Changchun Yatai player...

Aug 5, 2018

Chinese Superleague team Shanghai Shenhua has accused an opposing player of racially abusing its...

Honda among 27 Japan players named for World Cup...

Aug 24, 2017

Keisuke Honda was among 27 players named to Japan's squad for crucial World Cup qualifiers against...

Bolt predicts his world records could stand for...

Sep 5, 2017

Usain Bolt says he has no regrets about retiring and is confident his world records will stand for...

Muguruza beats Puig to reach Pan Pacific...

Sep 20, 2017

Garbine Muguruza began her reign as No. 1 with a 6-4, 6-0 win over Monica Puig to earn a spot in...

Goffin wins Japan Open for 2nd title in 2 weeks

Oct 8, 2017

David Goffin of Belgium has atoned for his defeat in the Japan Open final last year by winning it,...

About Us

Frontal Report is an emerging leader in all forms of media. We aim to be the leading news brand for readers around the world.

Contact us: sales[at]frontalreport.com

Subscribe Now!