February 24, 2013 / 5:13 AM / 6 years ago

Kimetto takes Tokyo record as Kenyans sweep podium

Runners fill the street at the start of the Tokyo Marathon in Tokyo February 24, 2013 in this photo provided by Kyodo. About 35,000 runners participated in the event on Sunday. MANDATORY CREDIT REUTERS/Kyodo

(Reuters) - Dennis Kimetto claimed his first marathon victory in only his second race over the distance when the Kenyan won the Tokyo Marathon in a race record time on Sunday.

The 29-year-old finished in a time of two hours, six minutes and 50 seconds to smash Swiss Viktor Rothlin’s 2008 record by 33 seconds but still outside his target of 2:04.

Last year’s winner Michael Kipyego finished eight seconds behind Kimetto in the runners-up spot with Bernard Kipyego completing the Kenyan clean sweep of the podium.

It was the first time the Tokyo race had featured as a World Marathon Major with Kimetto’s victory putting him top of the standings in the six legged contest that takes place over two years with events in Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York.

Home runners Kazuhiro Maeda (fourth) and Takayuki Matsumiya (ninth) prevented a Kenya-Ethiopia domination of the top 10.

In the women’s race, Ethiopian Aberu Kebede followed up her Berlin marathon success by taking the title with a time of 2:25:34.

Her compatriot Yeshi Esayias finished second almost 30 seconds back with 40-year-old Irina Mikitenko of Germany, the World Marathon Majors champion in 2008 and 2009, taking third.

Reporting by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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