Betsy Saina in a close one and Paul Lonyangata defends in Paris, Kenneth Kipkemoi debuts with win, Viselike Jepesko takes win in Rotterdam, A view from Kenya, as Kenyan runners win in Paris and Rotterdam

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Saina_Betsy-BAA10k17.jpgBetsy Saina wins Paris Marathon today! photo from BAA 10k, by PhotoRun

A big first weekend in the marathon world, with marathons in Paris, Rotterdam and Hamburg! Here's Justin Lagat's piece on the Kenyan wins at Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris and NN Rotterdam Marathon!

Kenyans had double wins today in both the Rotterdam and the Paris Marathons, but the day seemed to have belonged more to Betsy Saina who was beginning to doubt whether marathon was her distance after she had failed to finish in her first two attempts.

Saina finally made a breakthrough in marathon running today after running a great race to win it in 2:22:55. This was her third time testing the distance having failed to finish both the Tokyo and the New York marathons.

Saina made a decisive move at 38km and left a pack of seven athletes to disintegrate into a single file behind her. Ruth Chepng'etich, who had been doing most of the front running after the pace setters left was surprised when three athletes eased past her before she fought her way back to second place again at 40km and even almost overtook Saina with less than 500m to go. However, it seems Saina was so determined that it was going to be her day and dug deeper into her energy reserve and managed to create another gap before crossing the finish line raising her hands up in sweet victory. Chepge'tich followed closely to take second while Ethiopia's Gulume Chala

"I wanted to know this time round whether I am meant for the marathon distance or not," Saina said after the marathon.

Paul Lonyangata defended his title in the men's race, but it looked as though it wasn't as easy as he did it last year. A huge pack kept together at the lead up to around the 30km point. Lonyangata made an effort to break away shortly after that, but still a huge pack was still just behind him and he decided to move back inside it and wait for a more favorable time. Mathew Kisorio took to the front and maintained a fast pace that soon left only three athletes at the front; him, Lonyangata and Ernest Ngeno.

When Lonyangata finally pulled away in the final stages of the race, no one could match his finishing speed and strength. Kisorio came in second while Ngeno completed the podium sweep by Kenyans.

It was another great day for Kenyans at the Rotterdam marathon as well.

With less than three kilometers to go in the men's race, three Ethiopians were already leading the race in a single file with two Kenyans following at some distance behind in fourth and fifth positions. Then, Kenneth Kipkemoi suddenly overtook his countryman and began closing in on other runners and overtaking them rapidly. For a while, Abera Kuma tried to hold on to him when he finally overtook them at the front but he could not last more than about 20 seconds in that pace. Kipkemoi went ahead to win his marathon debut in an amazing time of 2:05:44.

Visiline Jepkesho on the other hand ran solo to win the women's race in 2:23:45.

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