Jackson Kiprop became the first Ugandan winner of the Nagano Marathon while Meskerem Hunde won the women’s contest at the IAAF Bronze Label road race on Sunday (21).
Both races were close. Kiprop, who finished 10th in the marathon at the 2013 and 2015 IAAF World Championships, won the men’s race by just three seconds in 2:10:39, while Meskerem won the women’s race by 14 seconds in 2:33:32.
It was Kiprop’s second marathon victory to date and the second-fastest time of his career after the 2:09:32 PB he set on his debut at the distance when winning in Mumbai in 2013.
The men’s contest was a typical race of attrition. A large pack was reduced to seven runners by the half way point (1:04:59). By 30km, the lead pack was reduced to four runners and five kilometres later the race turned into a duel between Kiprop and Deresa Geleta.
Kiprop outkicked Geleta at the end to win by three seconds. Japan’s Naoya Sakuta finished third in a PB of 2:11:21. Kering, the fastest runner in the field, was fourth in 2:12:45.
The women’s race was decided in the final kilometre. A lead pack of seven runners were together at the half way point but just three remained – Valentine Kipketer, Kebene Chala and Meskerem Hunde at 25 kilometres.
They stayed together past 35 kilometres before Kipketer, the fastest in the field, dropped behind. Hunde left Chala in her wake in the final two kilometres to win by 14 seconds in 2:33:32, the second fastest marathon of her career.
1 Jackson Kiprop (UGA) 2:10:39
2 Deresa Geleta (ETH) 2:10:42
3 Naoya Sakuta (JPN) 2:11:21
4 Alfred Kering (KEN) 2:12:45
5 Asuka Tanaka (JPN) 2:14:35
1 Meskerem Hunde (ETH) 2:33:32
2 Kebene Chala (ETH) 2:33:46
3 Valentine Kipketer (KEN) 2:35:03
4 Pauline Wangui (KEN) 2:36:02
5 Yumiko Kinoshita (JPN) 2:36:28
Ken Nakamura for the IAAF