East African Dominance At The Fukuoka Marathon

The first Japanese runner was third.

The first Japanese runner was third.

Josphat Ndambiri was the first runner to break the tape at this year's Fukuoka Marathon on Sunday. Photo: Yahoo Sport

Though the race may be one of Japan’s most famous races, it was a Kenyan affair at the Fukuoka Marathon on Sunday.

Josphat Ndambiri dominated the race, his debut marathon, to win in two hours, seven minutes, and 36 seconds. The 26-year-old, who has been based in Japan for over a decade, held off fellow Kenyan and Japanese resident James Mwangi who came in second in 2:08:38.

Japan’s “blue collar” runner, Yuki Kawauichi, came in third in 2:09:57.

“I pulled ahead as I saw nobody coming up front,” Ndambiri said, referencing his surge after 25K when the pacemakers pulled out. “I guess the time is good for my first marathon….I don’t know where I should pick up my pace or restrain myself. I will try to correct it in my next marathon.” Ndambiri will next run the Paris or Rotterdam Marathon. This year’s Fukuoka Marathon was used by Japan for the Olympic Trials race. Kenya has one of the toughest teams to qualify for in the world. “It will be tough to be selected for the Olympics but I believe I can go if I work hard,” admitted Ndambiri.

For More: The Times of India