• Kyodo

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Beijing Olympic bronze medalist Tsegaye Kebede surged away to win the Fukuoka International Marathon in a personal-best time on Sunday.

The Ethiopian favorite moved into cruise control just after the 30-km mark to leave a chasing Japanese trio in his wake before stopping the clock with a race-record time of 2 hours, 6 minutes, 10 seconds at Heiwadai Track and Field Stadium.

“I am delighted and did a lot better than I hoped or expected I would,” said Kebede, who sliced 30 seconds off the previous best time he set in winning the Paris Marathon in April and finished more than 3 minutes ahead of Satoshi Irifune.

“My best until now was (2:06.40) and I have finished in six and a bit so obviously I’m really pleased,” added the 21-year-old Kebede.

Kebede’s time was also 29 seconds faster than the meet record set by Beijing Olympic gold medalist Samuel Wanjiru of Kenya on his full marathon debut here last year.

Irifune clocked 2:09:23 and in finishing fastest among Japanese runners qualified for next year’s IAAF World Athletics Championships in Berlin.

“So many times I have pushed ahead just after the 30-km mark but not been able to keep up,” said Irifune.

“I thought I would be patient and wait until 35 kilometers to make my move. There is still a difference in level between me and the world’s top runners, but I feel satisfied that I achieved the goal of finishing as the top Japanese runner.”

Compatriot Arata Fujiwara clocked 2:09:47 to take the third spot.

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