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Kenya's Paul Lonyangata celebrates as he places first in the Men's Group during the 42nd edition of the Paris Marathon on April 8, 2018 in Paris. / AFP PHOTO / Eric FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

ERIC FEFERBERG/Getty Images

Paul Lonyangata became the first men’s runner in 28 years to claim back-to-back Paris marathon titles after he successfully defended his crown in the French capital on Sunday, winning in a time of two hours, six minutes and 25 seconds.

The 25-year-old was 15 seconds slower than last year but nevertheless took the top prize as compatriots Mathew Kisorio and Ernest Ngeno finished second and third, respectively, to complete a Kenyan 1-2-3.

Kenya retained the women’s title on Sunday, too, as Betsy Saina raced to victory in two hours, 22 minutes and 56 seconds, just three seconds ahead of countrywoman and silver medallist, Ruth Chepngetich.

Ethiopia’s Gulume Chala, who clinched bronze in the women’s race, was the only non-Kenyan star to appear on either podium, with 2018 marking the third year in succession the African nation has won both men’s and women’s races.

The 2018 Paris marathon was sponsored by Schneider Electric, whose chairman, Jean-Pascal Tricoire, posted confirmation of Sunday’s results in both disciplines:

The last man to emerge victorious in consecutive Paris Marathons was Welshman Steve Brace in 1989-90, while the feat has been accomplished more recently in the women’s field, by Ethiopian Atsede Baysa in 2009-10.

The route started on the Champs-Elysees and took runners around the world’s love capital, featuring some of Paris’ most famous landmarks, such as the Chateau de Vincennes and Notre Dame before finishing close to the Arc de Triomphe.

Lonyangata was unable to beat his 2017 time in sunny conditions but cast an elated figure to keep his crown upon crossing the finish line, via Schneider Electric:

Saina was a whole two minutes slower than last year’s women’s marathon winner, Purity Rionoripo, who set a new course record with her victory in 2017:

It turned out to be an accomplished day of sport for Kenya as a whole, too, after deputy president William Samoei Ruto lauded the success of the country’s rugby sevens side:

Lonyangata wasn’t able to surpass the personal-best time he managed in Paris last year but rallied nonetheless to take his second gold in France’s capital.

Kenya also boast the reigning men’s and women’s champions in the Berlin and London marathons, and the nation will seek to keep that vice-like grip on Europe’s long-distance road events for the remainder of 2018.

Bleacher Report – Front Page

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