LONDON – Kenyan marathon runners showed their superiority ahead of the Olympics on Sunday, with Wilson Kipsang and Mary Keitany coasting to victory in London to virtually assure themselves of selection for the games.
Kipsang, the second-fastest marathon runner ever, won the 42.2-kilometer (26.2-mile) race for the first time, more than two minutes ahead of fellow Kenyan Martin Lel.
Kipsang had stormed ahead of the pack with around 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) to go in the British capital before winning in 2 hours, 4 minutes, 44 seconds.
"I knew when I went away they have to work very, very hard to beat me as I was feeling very good in myself," he said. "I am sorry I didn't (break) the record but winning is the most important thing for me. I feel a little tired now, but I am happy and tired."
In a sprint finish in front of Buckingham Palace on the Mall, Lel edged Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia for second place. World record-holder Patrick Makau dropped out less than half of the way through.
It was an all-Kenyan podium in the women's race, with Keitany defending her title in 2:18:37 for an African record.
Keitany said it was a "very tough" victory and that she already has her sights on success here at the Olympics on Aug. 5.
"Everyone was just looking for the Olympic time in order to be selected," she said. "It's great for me to win the race for the second time. I hope they will select me now for the Olympics.
"I want to go and try to get a medal at the Olympics ... on Friday I went to look at the route."
Keitany pulled away from world champion Edna Kiplagat with around 5 kilometers (3 miles) to go before winning by 1 minute, 13 seconds. Priscah Jeptoo was third.