Kenyan sets new record at Seoul’s marathon

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Kenyan sets new record at Seoul’s marathon

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Sylvester Teimet of Kenya celebrates upon crossing the finish line of the Seoul International Marathon at the Jamsil Olympic Main Stadium in central Seoul yesterday. [YONHAP]

It was an all-Kenyan affair at the Seoul International Marathon yesterday.

In a race featuring 23,170 professional and amateur runners, Sylvester Teimet crossed the finish line with a personal best and a course-record time of 2 hours 6 minutes 48 seconds in the 42.195-kilomter (26.2-mile) race. Gilbert Kipruto Kirwa finished second with Paul Kiprop Kirui at third.

The annual event is held on the third Sunday of March, and the course stretches from Gwanghwamun, central Seoul, to Jamsil Olympic Main Stadium in southern Seoul.

Teimet’s time is significant in that he is the first person to run the course under the 2 hours 7 minute barrier. In besting his personal record of 2 hours 7 minutes 35 seconds, Teimet broke the course record of 2 hours 7 minutes 6 seconds set by Gert Thys of South Africa six years ago. What makes the feat all the more impressive is that the Kenyan runner was not considered a favorite coming into the race.

“It’s an honor to have set a personal best and a Seoul International Marathon record,” Teimet told the Korean press. “The course was even and the nice weather helped. I definitely want to enter in next year’s event.”

For his efforts, Teimet received first-place prize money of $80,000 and a $45,000 bonus for breaking the record, for a total of $125,000.

Park Young-min was the top Korean runner with 2 hours 12 minutes 43 seconds - good enough for the sixth-best time overall. It was the 26-year-old’s personal best time. Kim Min finished second among the Korean runners.

Amane Gobena of Ethiopia finished first in the women’s division with a time of 2 hours 24 minutes 13 seconds. Zhou Chunxiu of China and Caroline Cheptanui Kilel of Kenya finished second and third, respectively.

Kim Sung-eun was the top Korean female runner with a time of 2 hours 29 minutes 27 seconds. In setting a personal best time, Kim was the sixth-fastest woman to run the race.


By Jason Kim [jason@joongang.co.kr]

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