Paris: Marathon success for Kenenisa Bekele
Last Updated: 06/04/14 2:20pm
Kenenisa Bekele trotting through the streets of Paris on Sunday morning, en route to a debut victory in the marathon
Kenenisa Bekele made a stunning debut over the marathon distance on Sunday when he set a new course record by winning in Paris.
The three-time Olympic champion on the track clocked two hours, five minutes and two seconds in the sunshine - over 26.22 miles - to knock eight seconds off the previous best set by Kenyan Stanley Wiwott two years ago.
The 31-year-old, who is also a five-time world champion on the track, finished 107 seconds ahead of his fellow Ethiopian Getachew Negari Terfa, while Luka Kanda of Kenya was third.
Bekele emulated his great compatriot Haile Gebreselassie, who also made a successful move from the track to marathon running.
Bekele, a winner of 11 world cross-country titles, made his move after only 10 miles and coasted home despite struggling with a hamstring problem later in the race.
He said: "It was my first marathon and I didn't have much experience.
"It was very tough but it was the time I expected. I pushed alone but it was hard.
"Three miles from the finish, my hamstring cramped up again and I couldn't accelerate. I think in the future, I'll do better but it's very positive."
However, he missed out on the world record held by Kenyan Wilson Kipsang who ran two hours, three minutes and 23 seconds in Berlin last year.
In the women's race, Kenya's Flomena Cheyech dominated proceedings winning in a time of 2:22.41, with a winning margin of 3:37 over Ethiopia's Yebrgual Melese.