How this Kenyan Mr and Mrs lit up the Paris marathon
Kenyans won the men’s and women’s Paris marathons on Sunday, but it was double celebration for one family.other sports Updated: Apr 09, 2017 22:38 IST
Paul Lonyangata won the Paris marathon on Sunday with his wife Purity Rionoripo tying up the women’s race to make it a memorable day out for the Kenyan couple.
Lonyangata recorded his biggest career win in a time of two hours, six minutes and 10 seconds despite losing valuable time when doubling back after missing the penultimate water station.
His compatriot, pre-race favourite Stephen Chebogut, was second at 2hr 6min 56sec, with Solomon Yego completing the all-Kenyan podium (2:7:13).
“I feel good now as my aim was to come here to win,” said Lonyangata, who was going one better after taking second in the Paris half-marathon in March.
The family double
With Paris bathed in spring sunshine, Rionoripo made it a red letter day for the couple, the 23-year-old setting a new record of 2hr 20min 50sec, smashing her personal best by almost four minutes.
The couple’s success put a smile back on the face of Kenyan athletics, 48 hours after the shock news of Olympic marathon champion Jemima Sumgong’s failed dope test. Sumgong was the first Kenyan woman to win an Olympic gold in the marathon when she triumphed in Rio last year.
The 32-year-old, who is also the reigning London Marathon champion, tested positive for the banned blood booster EPO in a test by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in her native Kenya.
Lonyangata, 24, made his decisive move after the 35km marker, surging clear of Chebogut in the Bois de Boulogne to add Paris to his previous marathon wins in Shanghai in 2015 and Lisbon two years back.
In the women’s race, Rionorigo was followed across the line by compatriot Agnes Barsosio (2:21:02) with Flomena Cheyech (2:21:23.) completing the podium.
“I’m so happy, it’s a great day for me to win and to beat my personal best,” said Rionorigo, who lowered the previous Paris marathon record set by Ethiopia’s Feyse Tadese of 2:21:06 in 2013.