Kenya completed the double at the 2019 Adnoc Abu Dhabi Marathon on Friday morning when Reuban Kipyego won the men's title and Vivian Kiplagat claimed her third victory of the year.
Kipyego, 23, set the pace and led all the way to take home the $100,000 (Dh367,000) first prize in a time of 2hrs 04min and 40sec, just outside the time of last year’s inaugural winner of the race Marius Kipserem (2:04:04).
Another Kenyan Joel Kimurer (2:06:21) took second spot ahead of Ethiopian Fikadu Girma Teferi (2:09:16).
Defending champion Kipserem became an early casualty, with the Kenyan pulling out before the halfway mark of the race.
“I’m surprised with the result,” Kipyego said on his first major marathon career success. “My job today was to set the pace but I felt good throughout the entire race and just kept going the distance.”
Kipyego arrived on the back of a runner-up spot and a personal best time of 2:05:02 in the IAAF Bronze Label Buenos Aires Marathon on September 22.
“This was a tough race to win like any other major marathon,” he said. “I am very happy with my own performance and the result.”
Kiplagat, 28, lived up to her top billing by taking the women’s race in a personal best time of 2:21:11 and with it the $100,000 prize that was on offer.
She broke away from the group straightaway and then maintained her position in the front all the way to the end.
“My objective was to run 2:20 but it was still a personal best time and I’m glad of the day’s work,” Kiplagat, who bettered her previous PB 2:22:25 at the Milan Marathon in April, said.
Joining Kiplagat on the podium were Ethiopians Wude Atalew (2:24:03) and Yeshi Kalayu (2:24:28).
Eunice Chumba, the Kenyan running under the Bahrain flag who was runner up last year, was fourth in 2:26:43, well outside her 2018 time of 2:20:54.