Streets ahead: Geoffrey Kirui gives Kenya gold in men’s marathon

Kenyan grabs a record fifth world title after winning by a country mile from second-placed Tamirat Tola of Ethiopia

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 August, 2017, 8:55pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 August, 2017, 9:00pm

Geoffrey Kirui gave Kenya a record fifth men’s marathon title at the world championships on Sunday, winning a seesaw race with Tamirat Tola of Ethiopia that finished on London’s famed Tower Bridge.

Kirui had to come from behind to pass Tola in the final quarter of the race. And once he got through the winding streets of London, Kirui found the way clear for a victorious run along the River Thames over the last miles.

Kirui won in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 27 seconds, creating such a gap over Tola that he had time to slap the outstretched hands of fans in the finishing straight before crossing the line. Tola weakened at the end and just held off bronze medallist Alphonce Simbu of Tanzania at the end.

Tola first shook off Kirui about three-quarters through the race but overestimated his strength. Slowly, the Kenyan came back and took over the lead by the 35-kilometer mark.

Kirui, who won the Boston Marathon in April, got his nation its first men’s marathon title since 2011.

In the Olympic Stadium, the heptathlon was nearing its finale with Olympic champion Nafi Thiam in a strong position. She regained the lead with only two events left when she won the long jump with a leap of 6.57 metres.

Overnight leader Carolin Schaefer jumped only 6.20.

The javelin and 800 meters still remain later on Sunday.

Other finals on Sunday are the women’s marathon, 100 metres and pole vault, and the men’s shot put.

After the Americans went 1-2 in the men’s 100 metres with Justin Gatlin taking gold and reducing Usain Bolt to bronze, Olympic champion Elaine Thompson will be seeking to get one back for Jamaica. Tori Bowie leads the US challenge.

The US team could well win more medals with Ryan Crouser favored to add the world title to his Olympic shot put gold.