Husband and wife emerge winners of 2017 Schneider Electric Paris Marathon


The Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris is amazing. I was fortunate to view it in 2014, when Kenenisa Bekele debuted at the marathon distance. The course is through the streets of Paris, and 40,000 runners a year can attest to the beauty of the race and the excitement of racing in Paris.

The column below is part of our A View from Kenya series, by Justin Lagat. Justin wrote this piece about the Paris and Rotterdam marathons.

In another weekend of exciting road running across the world, Kenyan athletes finished in the top three positions in both the men and women races at the 41st edition of Paris Marathon. And, that may not be as surprising as the fact that the men's and women's winners happened to be a married couple.

Paul Lonyangata stayed patiently behind the leading pack in a fast, and well set pace, led by Simon Cheprot, that took a leading pack of about 20 athletes through the half way point in 1:02:46. At around the 30km point, he briefly moved to the front and injected a faster pace, as though to reduce the size of the leading pack, then moved back to relax again at the back of the leaders. It was at that point that those keenly watching the race could tell that Lonyangata was in great form.

With about eight kilometers to go, Lonyangata missed his drink and ran back to grab it. But, despite that, he appeared cool as he took his drink and slowly closed the gap again. Then with about 5km to go, he broke away. For a brief moment, only Ethiopia's Atnafu tried to go with him but dearly paid for that later on in the race when two other Kenyans passed him as he struggled to finish.

Lonyangata won the race in a personal best time of 2:06:10. Stephen Chebogut followed to take second in 2:06:56 as Simon Yego took third in 2:07:13.

About fourteen minutes later, while still celebrating his own win, Lonyangata saw his wife, Purity Rionoripo, approach the finish line to win the women's race also in a personal best time of 2:20:55. Second and third places also went to Kenyan women; Agnes Barsosio in 2:20:57 and Flomena Cheyech in 2:21:22 respectively. Defending champion, Visiline Jepkesho finished fourth.

Mr. and Mrs. seemed to have been using the same tactic in the race, as Rionoripo had also stayed behind the pack with Flomena Cheyech for the better part of the race before slowly moving to take the lead in the last kilometer and suddenly breaking away from Barsosio after she nearly fell down after a male runner's feet had accidentally touched hers.

It was also a great day elsewhere for Kenyans, in Rotterdam, when Kenyan men led by Marius Kimutai in 2:06:04 finished in the top five positions at the Rotterdam Marathon. Lawrence Cherono took second in 2:06:21, Laban Korir third in 2:06:25, Festus Talam fourth in 2:07:09 and Lucas Rotich was fifth in 2:07:19.

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