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Kenya’s Alexander Mutiso Munyao Triumphs at London Marathon, Pays Tribute to Late Champion Kelvin Kiptum

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Alexander Mutiso Munyao ( born in Mbooni, Makueni county) has secured another victory for Kenya on a day when the London Marathon paid tribute to last year’s champion, Kelvin Kiptum.

The race commenced with a moment of applause in honor of Kiptum, who tragically lost his life in a car accident in Kenya in February. As the race concluded, Mutiso Munyao, a fellow Kenyan and friend of Kiptum, sprinted alone down the final stretch in front of Buckingham Palace, clinching an impressive victory in his debut major marathon.

Mutiso Munyao revealed that he had spoken to Kiptum after his London win last year, and that the world-record holder always remains in his thoughts when he competes.

“He’s always in my thoughts because he was a dear friend of mine,” Mutiso Munyao said. “It was a special day for me.”

Kenya celebrated a double triumph as Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir surged ahead in the latter stages to claim victory in the women’s race, solidifying her status as the favorite to defend her gold medal in Paris.

With approximately 400 meters to go, Jepchirchir left world-record holder Tigst Assefa and two other competitors behind, sprinting alone towards the finish line. She completed the race in 2 hours, 16 minutes, 16 seconds, with Assefa finishing second and Joyciline Jepkosgei in third.

Though her time was over 4 minutes slower than Assefa’s world record set in Berlin last year, it stands as the fastest women-only marathon time ever recorded, surpassing the mark of 2:17:01 set by Mary Keitany in London in 2017. The elite women’s race in London commenced approximately 30 minutes ahead of the elite men’s race.

For Jepchirchir, however, the primary goal was to convince Kenya’s Olympic selectors that she deserved a spot on the team in Paris.

“So I pushed myself harder to defend my title in the Olympics,” she said.

Mutiso Munyao denied 41-year-old Kenenisa Bekele his first victory at the London Marathon, pulling ahead of the Ethiopian legend with approximately 3 kilometers remaining to secure the most significant triumph of his career.

Mutiso Munyao and Bekele engaged in a fierce battle for the lead until the Kenyan made his decisive move along the River Thames, rapidly creating a six-second gap that continued to widen as he approached the finish line.

“At the 40-kilometer mark, when my friend Bekele fell behind, I had the confidence that I could win this race,” said the 27-year-old Mutiso Munyao.

He completed the race in 2 hours, 4 minutes, 1 second, with Bekele finishing 14 seconds behind. Emile Cairess of Britain secured third place, trailing by 2 minutes and 45 seconds.

Bekele, the former Ethiopian Olympic champion in the 10,000 and 5,000 meters, had previously finished as the runner-up in London in 2017 but had never claimed victory in the race.

Mutiso Munyao remains relatively unknown within marathon circles and expressed uncertainty regarding whether this win would secure his place on Kenya’s Olympic team for Paris.

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