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Valary Jemeli Aiyabei from Kenya becomes the first ever Kenyan winner of the women’s race at Beijing Marathon

The women’s race was first introduced to the Beijing Marathon in 1989, but Kenyan runners had never previously managed to reach the top step of the women’s podium. Aiyabei, the fastest entrant and the only Kenyan in the elite women’s field, broke clear after 20 kilometres and kept pushing ahead until hitting the line in 2:21:38, ending a four-year winning run by Ethiopian runners. Her winning mark is the fourth fastest in the history of the race and the quickest mark since 2005, but is two minutes shy of the 2:19:39 course record set by Sun Yingjie in 2003. “This is my first time running the Beijing Marathon,” said the 27-year-old, who set her PB of 2:20:53 when finishing third at last year’s Berlin Marathon. “The race today was good and the weather was good. Everything was good. I want to say thanks to my pacemaker and my husband, he did the best job. I am very happy.” The race was staged under cool ad breezing conditions and the in-form Aiyabei tried to break away soon after the gun. After passing the water station at five kilometres, only Bahrain’s Eunice Chebichi Chumba, with a PB of 2:24:27 set last year in Rotterdam, managed to keep up with Aiyabei’s pace. The duo remained together for another 15 kilometres before Aiyabei finally broke free from Chumba. Paced by her husband Kenneth Kiplagat Tarus, Aiyabei kept widening the gap between her and Chumba. When Tarus stepped out of the course at 40 kilometres, Aiyabei had already built a lead of more than four minutes. (09/17/2018) ⚡AMP
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Kenya’s Paul Kios Kangogo wants to win and break the course record at Beijing Marathon

Kangogo who has a best time of 2:09:20, said he has overcome his injury concerns and is ready to return to the winner's podium in the Chinese capital. However, it will not only be the win he is targeting but to improve on his best time and attack the course record of 2:07:16, which was set five years ago by Ethiopia's Tadese Tola. My training has gone well and everything is fine. I have pushed my body to the limit and am happy, I have come through without any problems. I can say am in-form. I know there will be a strong Ethiopian challenge including the past champions, but running a marathon is down to your own strength and strategy and past record count for less," Kangogo told Xinhua, Thursday in Nairobi. The Kenyan has blown hot and cold in the last two years, mainly due to injury and hopeful, after returning to fitness in April, he will be consistent to string together another podium finish. He however, will be up against the 2014 Beijing marathon champion Fatuma Sado, Tola Dibaba (2:06:17) and Abayneh Ayele (2:06:45) who will be running his third race in China this year. He finished second in 2:14:13 at the Chongqing marathon in March and went on to take third place in Dongying in 2:13:47. There is also Ethiopia's Seboka Negusse (2:09:44) winner at the Hannover marathon in April and Xiamen marathon champion Dejene Debela (2:07:10). (09/15/2018) ⚡AMP
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Meselech Beyene of Ethiopia aiming to capture another title at the Beijing Marathon

The 24-year-old Beyene enjoyed a comfortable solo lead in the final 10 kilometers en route to her 2:27:44 victory last year, one minute shy of her personal best set six months earlier in Barcelona. It will be the third race of the year for Beyene following a third place finish in Houston with a season’s best of 2:27:21 in January and a second place showing at the Vienna City Marathon in 2:29:51 three months later. Beyene will once again face a deep field in Beijing, as she did here last year, which includes several sub-2:25 runners including the 26-year-old Sado. The Ethiopian achieved her career best of 2:24:16 at the 2015 Toronto Waterfront Marathon, one year after her 2:30:03 victory in Beijing, where she ended a 22-year winning streak by local runners in the women’s race. Although she failed to dip under the 2:30 the past two years, Sado proved her competitiveness in Xiamen this January as she shrugged off the heavy rain and overcame a stomach problem in the latter stages to win her second title there in 2:26:41. Beyene and Sado are more familiar with the course that stretches from the landmark Tian’anmen Square and ends outside the National Stadium, better known as the “Birds Nest”, but the top favorite should be Kenya’s Valary Jemeli Aiyabei. The 27-year-old is the fastest woman on paper with a career best of 2:20:53 from her third finish at the 2017 Berlin Marathon. Prior to that performance in the German capital, the rising Kenyan emerged triumphant in four straight marathons in Eldoret, Barcelona, Valencia and Prague, improving her PB on each occasion. Her winning marks in Valencia and Prague remains as the course records and she also proved her worth in 2018 with a 2:22:48 clocking in Nagoya where she finish second. The field also includes two sub-2:22 runners, Mulu Seboka and Amane Gobena, who are both from Ethiopia. Gobena recorded her PB of 2:21:51 in Tokyo two years ago while Seboka set her lifetime best of 2:21:56 in Dubai in 2015. The duo will both arrive in Beijing with high spirits following their newly claimed titles this year in Mumbai and Dalian respectively. (09/15/2018) ⚡AMP
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