Kenya´s Elijah Kemboi was victorious in the Blackmores Sydney Marathon

Kemboi broke a run of three successive wins by Japanese athletes in taking the men’s race while Kibarus produced the third-fastest winning women’s time on the Sydney course, which starts with an up-and-over run over Sydney Harbour Bridge and produces several other tough challenges along the route to the finish at the Opera House. Favouritism is often a heavy burden in a marathon, but Kemboi and Kibarus bore the mantle lightly. Each had seen off their closest rivals by the 35-kilometre point and ran to victory unchallenged over the final stages. With three sub-2:08 marathons to his name among seven sub-2:10 performances, Kemboi looked the class of the men’s field. In the marathon, however, you have to execute your race plan before the race executes you. The just-turned 34-year-old dominated the race from the start in North Sydney to the finish at the Opera House. It had come down to a race of three very shortly after the start as the lead group was whittled down from 10, to six and then to Kemboi, Uganda’s Thomas Ayeko, and Birhanu Addisie of Ethiopia. Addisie never looked too interested in sharing the leading duties, but Kemboi motioned the younger Ayeko, the Commonwealth Games 5000m fourth-place finisher and with a 1:00:26 half marathon to his credit, to the front several times in the first 30 kilometres.

posted Monday September 17th