HONOLULU, Hawaii, Dec. 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Both the men's and women's course records were smashed at the 45th Honolulu Marathon. Lawrence Cherono and Brigid Kosgei, both of Kenya, broke the finish line tape in Kapiolani Park in 2:08:27 and 2:22:15, respectively. The Kenyan duo each earned $50,000 in prize money and incentive bonuses.
Kosgei's performance is particularly noteworthy. She came into this year's race as the defending champion, and ran aggressively from the starter's gun. Joined by Kenyan compatriots Nancy Kiprop and Joyce Chepkirui, Kosgei blazed through halfway in 1:11:50. She took command of the race after the 25-kilometer (15.5-mile) point, and ran to the finish line in Kapiolani Park alone.
"Last year was very hot, but today I feel that it is good," said Kosgei after catching her breath. Saying she had big goals, she continued: "Maybe next year, I want to improve to run 2:18 or 2:17. I want to break the course record (in New York, London, or Boston)."
Kosgei's time surpassed the previous race record of 2:27:19 set set by Russia's Lyubov Denisova in 2006.
Kiprop finished second in 2:29:16, and Chepkirui -- the 2015 Honolulu champion -- finished third in 2:33:18. The top American was Polina Carlson of Kailua, Hawaii, in 2:53:16. She finished in tenth place.
Men's champion Cherono won a late-race battle with another Kenyan, Wilson Chebet, whom he beat in Honolulu last year. Chebet made a strong move at the 20-mile mark to try to get away from Cherono, but Cherono quickly reacted, caught Chebet, then took the lead for good. Cherono's time of 2:08:27 improved upon his own record of 2:09:38 set last year.
"I am happy again because I came here a second time breaking a course record so it was a great achievement to me," Cherono said triumphantly. "I am happy with it."
Like last year, Chebet finished second in 2:09:55, and another Kenyan, Vincent Yator, took third in 2:10:38.
I think we've been seeing, especially from last year, that people can run very fast in Honolulu," remarked Honolulu Marathon Association CEO, Dr. Jim Barahal. He continued: "I think there is a vast talent pool, we are tapping into that next level pool and people are emerging and running times that were thought impossible at Honolulu."
Cherono's 2:08:27 is the fastest marathon run on U.S. soil this year.
A total of 25,154 runners started the race today, including 4,144 in the inaugural Start to Park 10-K, which utilized the first 10 kilometers of the course.
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Official 2017 Honolulu Marathon Video
KALAKAUA MERRIE MILE
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Digital media director, Honolulu Marathon Association
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SOURCE HONOLULU MARATHON ASSOCIATION