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Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya defends his title in marathon

Eliud Kipchoge, of Kenya, celebrates after winning his second consecutive gold medal in the men's marathon.Shuji Kajiyama/Associated Press

TOKYO — Eliud Kipchoge pulled away late and no one could come close to catching him as the 36-year-old from Kenya defended his Olympic marathon title.

Kipchoge finished in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 38 seconds on a breezy and humid Sunday along the streets of Sapporo. It was more than 80 seconds ahead of runner-up Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands. Bashir Abdi of Belgium earned bronze to close out the track and field portion of the Tokyo Games.

On a day with plenty of cloud cover, Kipchoge cruised. The temperature was around 77 degrees Fahrenheit at the start and climbed to 84. The men’s race kept with its original start time a day after the women’s race was moved up an hour to avoid the heat.


Humidity was at 81 perecent as the runners wound their way through Sapporo, which is located about 500 miles north of Tokyo. The race was moved to escape the extreme heat, but it was about the same temperature Sunday in Tokyo — and rainy.

Kipchoge smiled along the way and even fist-bumped a fellow racer. Kipchoge becomes the third athlete to win multiple gold medals in the men’s marathon, joining Abebe Bikila (1960, ‘64) and Waldemar Cierpinski (’76, ‘80).

The top American was Galen Rupp in eighth place.

“It was a little rough out there,” Rupp said. “My body shut down a little bit. I’m proud of the way I competed. Still tried to hold it together. Everything is telling you to stop. Just the way it goes sometimes.”