By Norman Katende
63rd Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon
Men 42.198km results
1. Abraham Kiplimo (UGA) 2:09:23
2. Masato Imai (JPN) 2:09:30
3. Kenichi Shiraishi (JPN) 2:10:36
4. Ser-Od Bat-Ochir (MGL) 2:10:59
5. Soji Ikeda (JPN) 2:11:12
6. Takaaki Koda (JPN) 2:11:21
Abraham Kiplimo crossed the finish line clocking two hours 10 minutes as he made his marathon debut by winning the international acclaimed Beppu Oita marathon on Sunday in Japan.
Kiplimo romped to a comfortable victory, clocking 2:09:23 to beat over 3,600 runners on a foggy day with temperatures averaging 15 degrees and a high humidity of over 86%.
The time saw Kiplimo- who has been training with World and Olympics marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich and Jackson Kiprop in Kaptagat- become one of the handful of Ugandan marathoners who have run below 2 hours 10 minutes.
Kiplimo knew well that the Japanese were good marathoners and with fast pace setters, he decided not to go ahead but never to lose the lead pack.
He hang on through the 25km as the lead group thinned from 30 people at the 10km to less than 15km.
Kiplimo (blue jacket) says he knew from the very start that the Japanese were very good runners.
However towards the 30km mark, Japanese Masato Imai took charge but the Ugandan runner never gave up, hanging on as others dropped further behind the pack, and with about 7km to go, Kiplimo had taken the lead and Imai was chasing though the gap was about 30m and looked to be increasing.
With 2km to go, it was not a question of whether Kiplimo was going to win, but what time he would post as the clock read 2:02:23 for him and Imai passed at 2:02:40 and he in the clocked 2:09 to win with ease.
“After 35km I found myself in the front by accident so I just decided to continue pushing. I know the Japanese are very strong so I had to keep pushing and not give up,” he said at the post marathon press conference.
“There are so many talented Ugandan out there. What we are trying to do is to educate and nurse them well step by step. We are not rushing into this but we are sure that Uganda will rule the world,” said Jurrie Van Der Velden of Global Sports, the company that is managing Kiproptich, Kiprop and most of other Ugandan top runners.