The world’s elite runners descended on the French capital on Sunday, as the Paris Marathon took centre stage.
In a thrilling men’s race, Kenyan athlete Mark Korir produced a remarkable display to be crowned champion, chalking up a time of two hours, five minutes and 49 seconds. Marathon de Paris revealed the news as Korir crossed the finish line:
The 30-year-old’s victory marked his first over marathon distance, and it was one to remember as he was looking on course for a Paris record in the latter stages.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for Korir, though, with Seboka Tola moving into a commanding lead in the early exchanges—per Marathon de Paris:
However, it wasn’t long before the chasing pack caught up with Tola, as the lead changed hands around the halfway mark.
Korir was lurking with intent at this stage, waiting for the perfect moment to strike.
Mike Kigen decided it was time for him to make a move around eight kilometres out, but Korir had other ideas.
He kept tabs on his fellow Kenyan from just behind him, but with five kilometres to go, he went for it—per Marathon de Paris:
The lead that Korir established was one he didn’t surrender. In fact, he left the pack trailing in his wake. On the 35th kilometre, he was setting a staggering pace—one hour, 44 minutes and 18 seconds—with no signs of letting up.
As it was, his time of 2:05:49 was enough to claim the gold medal, beating his previous best time by almost two minutes.
Kigen eventually fell off, with Korir’s brilliance seemingly making an impact on his progress, as Luka Kanda took second and Tola joined them on the podium.
Here’s a look at the top three’s times, via Marathon de Paris:
Kanda’s time of 2:07:20 was good, and undoubtedly enough to win a lot of marathons, but his countryman was just too strong.
Speaking with French television channel France 3 at the end of the race, Korir reflected on a great day at the office— per Reuters (via Daily Mail): "I always try my best. I'm very happy, I beat my personal record.”
Meanwhile, in the women’s race, Ethiopian Meseret Mengistu reigned supreme, as she set an impressive time of 2:23:24—per Marathon de Paris:
Mengistu wasn’t able to enjoy as comprehensive a victory as Korir, though, as her compatriot Amane Gobena kept up the pressure on her throughout.
However, Gobena had to settle for second place ahead of Visiline Jepkesho, crossing the line just seven seconds after Mengistu, who, nonetheless, thoroughly deserved the victory thanks to an excellent effort.
Both Korir and Mengistu put together textbook displays of striking at the perfect moment, making a difficult job look wonderfully easy. They’ll both be looking to take that winning formula into the summer months, and based on Sunday’s display, they’ll take some stopping.