FUKUOKA (Kyodo) Beijing Olympic silver medalist Jaouad Gharib of Morocco ran largely unchallenged to victory in the Fukuoka International Marathon on Sunday.

Two-time world champion Gharib crossed the finish in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 24 seconds at the Heiwadai Track and Field Stadium and was never flustered by pace-setter Eliud Kiptanui of Kenya, who suddenly sped up after the 15-km point.

In unseasonably warm conditions, the 38-year-old Gharib took the lead when Kiptanui abandoned the race at the 30-km mark and never looked back.

“I came to win this time, so I am happier about that more than my time,” said Gharib. “I felt a little out of rhythm when the pace increased after the 15-km mark but I was able to cope with it in the end. Next year, I’d like to go under 2 hours, 5 minutes for a new personal best.”

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