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Kenya's Bernard Kipyego and Joyce Chepkirui shine at Amsterdam Marathon

Sunday October 18 2015

Kenyan athlete Bernard Kipyego celebrates as he

Kenyan athlete Bernard Kipyego celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the Amsterdam Marathon 2015 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on October 18, 2015. AFP PHOTO | ANP | JERRY LAMPEN  

AYUMBA AYODI
By AYUMBA AYODI
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As expected, Kenya staged another sweep at the Amsterdam Marathon when Bernard Kipyego defended his men’s title and Joyce Chepkirui pounded the track to her maiden victory over the distance on Sunday.

Kipyego triumphed in personal best of 2 hours, 06 minutes and 18 seconds, which was faster than his winning time of 2:06:22 in 2014.

Kenya had a new discovery in marathon in Chepkirui, who won the Commonwealth Games 10,000m title in 2014.

The 27-year-old went for her first marathon title, also in personal best time of 2:24:10.

The victories came in a span of three weeks after Eliud Kipchoge and Gladys Cherono stormed to their maiden Berlin Marathon victories in personal best times of 2: 04: 01 and 2:19:25 respectively with Dickson Chumba and Florence Kiplagat reigning at Chicago Marathon in 2:09:25 and 2:23:33 respectively.

Kipyego saw off Ezekiel Chebii to second place in 2:07:17 as Mike Kigen wrapped up a Kenyan podium place sweep in third in 2:07:45.

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Kipyego made his move, breaking away from Kigen, Chebii and Ethiopian Chale Dechasa with seven kilometres to go.

That happened as another Kenyan Wilson Chebet, who was seeking his fourth Amsterdam Marathon victory, dropped from the pack.

Chepkirui edged out fellow Commonwealth champion in marathon Flomena Cheyech to second by 26 seconds.

It was Chepkirui’s second marathon race after her debut over the marathon distance at the 2013 London Marathon, but she failed to match her success over shorter distances.

Chepkirui was placed 15th overall with a time of 2:35:54.

Meanwhile, favourite Abraham Cheroben lived up to his billing to successfully defend his title his Valencia Half Marathon title, clocking a world lead of 59:10 for the second year in a row.

The women’s competition was just as exciting as Ethiopia’s Netsanet Gudeta smashed the course record by 31 seconds to clock a career best of 1:07:30, moving to eighth on the 2015 world list.

The 22-year-old Cherobon’s feat saw him accomplish a record of five straight years with sub-60-minute winning times.

His victory is the 10th successive Kenyan victory in the men’s race and his compatriot Mathew Kisorio placed second in 59:53.

Kisorio took charge and surged on the toughest section of the circuit which proved to be unattainable for most of the rest of the large top contingent as only his countryman Cheroben could live with his terrific pace.

The 15km point was reached in 42:01 with Kisorio still making the pace and Cheroben trailing in his wake.

They were still on target to better the world-leading mark of 59:14, but Kisorio’s rhythm began to slow down a bit.

Cheroben then took command and the key moment came with the clock reading 50:30 as he broke away from Kisorio with incredible ease with just 3km remaining.

The final section proved to be a solo run for Cheroben but he succeeded in his goal, retaining his title in a world-leading 59:10, just 22 seconds shy of his winning mark from 2014.

“I already know the circuit very well and that’s an advantage for me,” said Cheroben.

“Valencia’s circuit is perfect to get quick time and I’ll come back next year of course to try a hat trick of victories and become the fastest athlete in the world as it has happened the last two seasons.”

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