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Gitau triumphs in Fukuoka Marathon

Kyodo

Former world-record holder Haile Gebrselassie retired late in the race and Japan-based Kenyan Joseph Gitau won the Fukuoka International Marathon on Sunday.

Gitau, who established a 13-second lead with 5 km left, pulled away and posted a winning time of 2 hours, 6 minutes, 58 seconds for his first victory in a marathon. Hiroyuki Horibata placed second in 2:08:24 in one of three selection races for Japanese runners for next year’s athletics world championships in Moscow.

“I came into the race quite confident I would finish top among Japanese runners,” said Horibata. “But I wanted to finish under (2 hours and) 8 minutes, so to be honest I am disappointed about that.”

The qualifying standard for the worlds has been set by Japan athletics officials at 2:07:59.

Gebrselassie, who won this race in 2006, was among the frontrunners when he pulled up at the side of the road and withdrew with around 10 km left.