Kenyans dominate Monaco Marathon

A trio of Kenyans led by Geoffrey Mutai dominated the 11th Monaco and the Riviera Marathon yesterday. A superb performance by Mutai saw him complete the 42.195 km course in 2 hours 12 minutes and 40 seconds. The fastest time set for a marathon is 2 hours 4 minutes and 26 seconds by Haile Gebrselassie in Berlin last year. Second place was Jacob Kitur (2h 13.22) followed by Joel Kiplomo Kemboi (2h 13.50), and all three beat their own personal records. Meanwhile, in the women’s race it was the Russians who garnered all the glory: Elena Kozhevnikova clinched first place in 2h 41.21, well ahead of Elena Tikhonova in 2h 48.10 and Jeanna Malkova in 2h 50.37.

The Monaco event is famous among marathonians as it takes in three countries - Monaco, France and Italy - along a beautiful coastal route through Roquebrune Cap Martin, Menton and Ventimiglia. This year for the first time the starting gun was fired from where the Monaco Grand Prix roars off at Port Hercule.

The change of date from November to March appears to have had little impact on the number of  participants for the marathon and the accompanying 10km run, with a total of 2,500 runners taking part compared to nearly 3,000 in 2006. The main difference was the lack of spectators in Monaco’s Louis II stadium for the finish compared to previous years, which could have been due to the fact that there were other events going on in the Principality, whereas the month of November is quieter.

Just before the start, another of the runners, James Bett Kipkemboi, met Prince Albert II and the President of the Foulées Roquebrunoises. He was presented with a cheque for 3,500 euros, which was the money raised from a film made about his remarkable recovery after a near-fatal collision with a tram during the Athens Marathon. 

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