James Kipsang Kwambai on his way to victory (© Organisers)
For the third year in succession, James Kwambai won the Joongang Seoul Marathon on Sunday (3), coming close to the course record he set last year.
Running in 8°C and at 90% humidity, the Kenyan crossed the finish line in the Jamsil Stadium in 2:06:25, just 35 seconds adrift of his winning time from 12 months ago.
“I am so happy with the win, everything went perfectly,” said Kwambai, who won here in 2011 in 2:08:50. “At 38km I felt good and decided to push the pace. I ran the last 4km alone and felt very comfortable. Thanks to my coach Claudio Berardelli who helped me in Kaptagat to reach this great shape.”
It was Kwambai’s fifth-fastest time of his career. His personal best of 2:04:27 was set in Rotterdam in 2009 and at the time it was a Kenyan record, co-held with Duncan Kibet, and the second-fastest performance in history.
Along with Rotterdam, he has previously also been a runner-up at the Berlin and New York Marathons.
In second, 28-year-old Kenyan Mark Korir made a promising Marathon debut with 2:07:08. Less than a minute behind, Morocco’s Mustapha El Aziz smashed his personal best by six minutes to finish third in 2:07:55 in his second Marathon to date.
Former winner of this race, Kenya’s Jason Mbote finished fourth in 2:09:48. The highest-placed Korean athlete was Sung Ji-Hun, who finished ninth in 2:13:14.
The women’s field was a domestic one and the top two finishers improved their PBs. Park Ho-Sun went one place better than last year to win in 2:31:32, while 2011 World Championships representative Lee Sook-Jung took second place in 2:33:36.
A correspondent for the IAAF