Pre-race favourite Marius Kimutai lived up to expectations at the Hangzhou Marathon as he improved the course record by nearly half a minute at the IAAF Gold Label road race on Sunday (3).

The 26-year-old outraced Kenya’s Stanley Bett in the last kilometre of the race to become the first Bahraini winner in the 33-year history of the event, clocking 2:10:05.

It was Kimutai’s second victory in China this year, having won in Taiyuan in September with 2:09:43. It was also the sixth career marathon title for the 2:05:47 performer, following victories in Rotterdam, Danzhou, Ljubljana and Rennes since debuting over the distance in 2013.

The patient Kimutai bided his time in a crowded leading group in the early stages, passing 10km in 30:52 and 20km in 1:02:31.

The lead pack was cut to just five runners after the 30km mark and Bett waited for another five kilometres to make a move. Only Kimutai managed to keep up with Bett at 38km and the duo stayed together for three more kilometres before the in-form Bahraini pulled away at about 41km.

The 32-year-old Bett finish second with a personal best of 2:10:12, also finishing inside the course record of 2:10:33 set two years ago by Azmeraw Bekele of Ethiopia. Fellow Kenyan Douglas Kimeli, the runner-up in Hangzhou last year, finished third in 2:11:01, improving his PB by five seconds.

Agnes Jeruto Barsosio of Kenya also confirmed her favourite status in the women’s race, but in a more overwhelming way compared with Kimutai.

The 37-year-old, who owns a PB of 2:20:59 from the 2017 Paris Marathon, built up a comfortable lead soon after the gun and never met any real threat all the way to the finish.

Her winning mark of 2:25:20 was 10 seconds shy of the course record set by Ethiopia’s Hirut Tibebu last year.

Alice Jepkemboi Kimutai, winner of the 2018 Taiyuan Marathon and the 12th-place finisher in Hangzhou last year, clocked a lifetime best of 2:28:14 to take second place. Priscilla Chepatiy, winner of last year’s Wuxi Marathon, clocked 2:36:55 to complete a Kenyan podium sweep.


posted Sunday November 3rd