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Making his decisive move just before the 40th kilometer, Yemane Tsegay of Ethiopia won the 70th Fukuoka International Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road Race today.
Running in difficult conditions, the 31-year-old, who won the silver medal at the 2015 World Championships, clocked 2:08:48 to prevent two-time defending champion Patrick Makau from collecting a third straight victory.
Hindered by steady rains, high humidity and relatively strong winds which severely impacted the performances, Tsegay’s time was the slowest winning time since the 2004 edition. The conditions likely affected the peacemaking, with none of the pacesetters reaching 30 kilometers as anticipated.
After a cautious opening 20 kilometers, the pace actually quickened when the pacesetters departed just beyond the midway point, with the 20-25 kilometer stretch covered in 15:06, eight seconds faster than the previous five kilometers.
As the pace quickened the pack stretched out and eventually six runners – Amanuel Mesel, Tsegay, Jared Asmerom, Melaku Abera, Tariku Bekele and Yuki Kawauchi – had broken away. Makau maintained contact, shadowing the lead pack.