OTSU, SHIGA PREF. – Kenya’s Vincent Kipruto emerged victorious in a shoulder-to-shoulder battle against Tariku Jufar of Ethiopia in the last 200 meters to win the Lake Biwa Marathon on Sunday.
Kipruto, running alone with Jufar after Japan-based Kenyan James Mwangi slowed down in the last 2 km, spurted at the final corner to overtake Jufar before crossing the finishing line in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 34 seconds.
Jufar was second in 2:08:37 and Mwangi, who will return to Kenya after the race, was third in 2:08:48. The best local runner was Masakazu Fujiwara in fourth place in 2:08:51.
“The race was very nice. I enjoyed it. It’s just nice,” said the 25-year-old Kenyan, the winner in Paris in 2009.
“I knew I needed to run faster in the last track race, because I knew Tariku was strong,” he added.
Kipruto and Jufar moved up the pace shortly before the 38-km point to leave two Japanese runners behind. Mwangi also faded out, leaving the rest of the race to Kipruto and Jufar.