Kirui leads home Kenyan 1-2 in men's marathon

BERLIN Sat Aug 22, 2009 8:22am EDT

1 of 2. Abel Kirui of Kenya crosses the finish line in front of the Brandenburg Gate to win the men's marathon at the world athletics championships in central Berlin August 22, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Abel Kirui won the men's marathon world title in a championship record two hours six minutes and 54 seconds on Saturday to make it three global titles in a row for Kenya.

Compatriot Emmanuel Mutai took silver in 2:07:48 with Tsegay Kebde claiming bronze for Ethiopia (2:08:35).

Having spent years winning all sorts of track long distance golds and big city marathons Kenya were mystifyingly short on marathon titles until Luke Kibet won the 2007 world championship and Sammy Wanjiru followed up with Olympic gold last year.

They went into Saturday's race with a powerful-looking team and, in relatively cool conditions after a week of hot sun, had four men in the front pack from the start.

Rwanda's Dieudonne Disi looked like offering a stiff challenge but dropped out with what looked like cramp approaching the 30km mark leaving a group of three Kenyans - Kirui, Mutai and Robert Cheruiyot, and Ethiopia's Deriba Merga alone.

Cheruiyot was then dropped, Merga followed at the 35km mark before Kirui pushed on to drop Mutai.

Kirui set a 2:05:04 personal best in Rotterdam this year - while finishing third - and drove clear to take the tape at the Brandenburg Gate almost a minute clear of his team mate.

(Editing by Justin Palmer)

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