Kenya’s Cyprian Kotut claimed a double in the French capital within a month when he won this year’s Paris Marathon in personal best of 2 hours, 07 minutes and 13 seconds on Sunday.
Kotut, the brother to three-time London Marathon champion Martin Lel, overtook Ethiopian Abraha Gebretsadik with three kilometres to go, pumping his pistons past the 40km mark in 2:00:34 to victory.
Defending champion Mark Korir settled second in 2:07:31 as Commonwealth Games marathon silver medallist Stephen Chemlany waylaid Gebretsadik to ensure a Kenyan podium sweep in 2:07:39.
Micah Kogo of Kenya settled fourth in 2:07:43 as Gebretsadik came in fifth in 2:08:05.
The 24-year-old Kotut was fresh from Paris Half Marathon last month in 1:01:00.
Having recorded a personal best of 59:12 for the half marathon in 2014, Kotut made his marathon debut in Milan in 2015 and finished second in 2:08:55.
Kotut became the 12th Kenya to win the race and put his case straight ahead of the national marathon team selection for Rio Olympic Games later this month after London Marathon on April 24.
“I was a bit nervous considering the big names in the field,” Kotut said. “I had prepared well but not for this victory. It’s a surprise for me. I ran well and I loved the course.”
In the women's race, Kenya’s Visiline Jepkesho atoned for her last year's third place finish to win this year’s Paris Marathon in 2 hours 25 minutes and 57 seconds.
Jepkesho, the 2014 Lisbon Marathon winner in 2:26:47, who finished third at the French capital last year in personal best 2:24:44, broke away from Ethiopian Gulume Tollesa with seven kilometres to go and never looked back for her maiden major.
The 27-year-old, Kenya Prisons constable, who finished a distant 20th at the World Championships in Beijing last year before failing to finish in Nagoya last month, edged put Tollesa to second in 2:26:14.
Another Ethiopian Dinkinesh Mekash sealed the last podium place in 2:28:30.
The victory by Jepkesho enhanced her chances of being selected to the national marathon team for the Rio Olympic Games in August.
“I was confident for victory and the cool morning weather made things easy for me,” said Jepkesho, the 2014 Lisbon Marathon winner in 2:26:47.
“I didn’t want to go all the way with the Ethiopians that is why I broke early,” she added.
Athletics Kenya-Prisons chairman Benjamin Njoga congratulated Jepkesho for her victory that saw Kenya recapture the women’s title.
“My hope is that she gets selected for Rio Olympics,” said Njoga. “She just graduated from college in February and we are proud and happy about her achievement which present a strong case for selection,” he added.