Posted by: Joe English | March 1, 2009

Races — Paul Tergat Wins Lake Biwa Marathon

OTSU, Japan — Paul Tergat, the former marathon world record holder from Kenya, won the Lake Biwa Marthon this weekend in 2:10:22, pulling ahead of two-time champion Jose Rios of Spain in the last mile of the race.

In his first race of the year, Tergat looked strong against a competitive field. Tergat was the marathon world record holder prior to current record holder Haile Gebrselassie, running a time of 2:04:55 in Berlin in 2003.

“This is my first race in the year and to be able to come all the way (from Kenya) I was very tired from the jet lag. I’ve known it was a good competition, but there was a lot of wind throughout,” said Tergat, 39.

“It was a close competition … I’m happy, I’m excited. I hope I will be back to run in a good time,” he added.

A top group of some 24 runners was reduced to nine when three pace-makers — Kenya’s Isaac Macharia and Nicholas Chelimo, and Cutbert Nyasango of Zimbabwe — left the the race at the 30K mark.

Abderrahime Bouramdane of Morocco slowed from the leaders shortly afterwards, leaving the competition to Tergat, Rios, Yared Asmerom of Eritrea, Abiyot Guta of Ethiopia and Japan’s Masaya Shimizu.

Rios moved up the pace after passing the 39km point, but Tergat trailed him a step behind and kicked up the pace after the 41km mark. Rios wasn’t able to answer the burst.

Rios finished second in 2:10:36, followed by Asmerom third in 2:10:49.

Shimizu came in fourth in 2:10:50 and qualified for the world championships later this year in Berlin as the top Japanese runner.

“I’m happy that I qualified for the world championships, but I’m happier that I wasn’t beaten by my younger brother,” Shimizu said of Tomoya Shimizu, who was the second fastest Japanese at sixth place in 2:12:30.

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