Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede wins Fukuoka International Marathon
Dec. 06 2009
Breaking away from his competitions after 30 kilometres and covering the next five kilometres in an incredible 14:17, Tsegaye Kebede won the 62nd annual Fukuoka International Marathon in 2:06:10. It was not only a new course record, but also a Japanese all-comers record.
Kebede broke the year old course record of 2:06:39 set by the Olympic champion Samuel Wanjiru in his marathon debut. He also broke the Japanese all-comers record of 2:06:33, recorded by Gert Thys at the 1999 Tokyo marathon. Finally, it was also a personal best for Kebede, the Beijing Olympic Marathon bronze medallist, breaking his previous best of 2:06:40 set earlier this year at the Paris Marathon.
“I am very happy. The result is better than what I had expected,” said Kebede, who is now the 12th fastest Marathon runner in history, relegating Felix Limo to spot No. 13. Limo finished a disappointing fifth with 2:10:59.
Satoshi Irifune finished a distant second with 2:09:23 and selected for the marathon team for the upcoming World Championships in Berlin. “I am happy to be the first Japanese in the race, which was my goal. But my time is not a world class time. I like to improve it further,” said Irifune, who nonetheless improved his previous personal best of 2:09:40 he recorded in the Tokyo marathon in February. The three minutes, 13 seconds margin of victory by Kebede over Irifune was the largest margin of victory since the 1948 (the race’s 2nd annual edition, which was known as the Asahi Marathon and held in Takamatsu) race, when the winning in was three minutes and 15 seconds.