Kenyans won the men and women’s Paris Marathon titles on Sunday as, in a piece of theatre calculated by the organisers, the two champions finished almost together.
The women’s race started 16min 26sec before the men, the difference in times between the male and female winners last year.
Paul Lonyangata retained his men’s crown and also caught and passed Betsy Saina, the women’s winner, in the last few hundred metres.
Lonyangata finished in 2hr 6min 25sec while Saina won her race in 2:22:56 ahead of Ruth Chepngetich of Kenya and Gulume Chala of Ethiopia.
The Paris marathon is one of the world’s biggest sporting event’s star and the 2018 edition did not disappoint with sunny weather and a packed field of top athletes.
Lonyangata, who also won the 2013 Lisbon and 2015 Shanghai marathons, edged fellow Kenyans Mathew Kisorio and Ernest Ngeno.
Lonyangata becomes the first man to pull off the double in Paris since the Briton Steve Brace in 1989 and 1990.
Kenya took all but one of the medal positions in both races.
Women: 1. Betsy Saina (Kenya) 2hrs 22mins 56secs, 2. Ruth Chepngetich (Kenya) 2:22:59, 3. Gulume Chala (Ethiopia) 2:23:06.
Men: 1. Paul Lonyangata (Kenya) 2:06:25, 2. Mathew Kisorio (Kenya) 2:06:36, 3. Ernest Ngeno (Kenya) 2:06:41.