OITA – Gert Thys of South Africa ran alone comfortably in the final 12 kilometers to win the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon on Sunday for the second time and first in 10 years.
Thys, who won the 1996 race in a meet record, pulled away shortly after the 30-kilometer mark and came home with a time of 2 hours, 9 minutes, 45 seconds, finishing 2:01 ahead of runner-up Tomoyuki Sato of Japan.
Kenya’s Benjamin Kipchumba took third in 1:13:11, followed in fourth by Yohei Sato of Japan in 2:13:18.
The lead pack was reduced to four men from more than 10 as the pacesetter upped the pace between 25 and 30 kilometers.
Thys then took full advantage of his experience, making no mistake in measuring the timing of his surge and running away without a threat the rest of the way.
“I was trying to run for a record but the wind was quite a problem,” Thys said, whose time of 2:08:30 set 10 years ago still stands as the meet record in the annual race inaugurated in 1952.
Tomoyuki Sato failed to keep up with Thys and was unable to break his personal best by 2:03.
“I could have moved in front of the lead group but the pacesetter suddenly increased the speed around the 26-km point. Then I ran out of steam and saw myself trailing,” Sato said.