Rising star Cyprian Kotut grabbed the biggest win of his young career on Sunday, taking the men's event of the 2016 Paris marathon just weeks after claiming the half-marathon as well. Kotut finished Sunday's race with a time of 2:07:11.
Visiline Jepkesho ensured a Kenyan double, as she won the women's marathon after an impressive display. The 28-year-old finished with a time of 2:25:52.
Here's a look at the top finishers from the 40th Paris marathon:
|Paris Marathon: Top Finishers|
The event's official Twitter account shared footage of the start of this year's marathon, near the iconic Arc de Triomphe:
Among the many participants were a handful of celebrities, including TV presenter Stephane Jobert:
Kotut finished with an impressive time of 2:07:11, a personal best, per the IAAF's official website. The event's official Twitter account shared footage of his arrival:
The 24-year-old remained patient during the first half of the race, as the pace of the leading group was relatively slow. He pushed the tempo as the group ran along the famous Seine river and dropped his companions in the final stretch, finishing the race with a healthy lead.
Per the Associated Press (for ESPN.com), he told reporters he did not expect to win with such a big lead: "I wasn't too sure if I needed to speed up or not because I still don't really know the course layout. I simply planned to beat my own personal record. There were still some really strong guys, I didn't expect to be as far ahead."
Kotut did't make his full marathon debut until last year, when he placed second in Milan, and it's safe to say the young Kenyan athlete is well ahead of the learning curve at this stage.
He made his mark as a top prospect on the shorter distances earlier in his career, but the step up to the marathon level has proven a smart one. Kenya seems to have yet another budding star in its ranks, as the nation's dominance of the sport is set to continue.
In the women's race, Jepkesho avenged her 2015 loss against Meseret Mengistu, as the two rivals once again went head-to-head for the title. As shared by the event's official Twitter account, the two left their opponents behind with 10 kilometres to go:
Mengistu pushed the pace late in an attempt to shake Jepkesho, but her rival proved too strong, and the defending champion cracked in the final stretch. She ended up outside the podium.
The Paris marathon traditionally functions as the final major test before the season kicks up a notch, with races in Rome, Boston and London later this month.
Sunday's champions have to feel good about their form heading into that busy stretch. Jepkesho may not have finished with a top time, but she showed her stamina in the final miles, and Kotut smashed his personal best and seems primed to improve further as the 2016 season progresses.