Sun Dec 2, 5:59 AM
TOKYO (AFP) – Samuel Wanjiru from Kenya ran his first full marathon at the Fukuoka international on Sunday, winning the event in record time. Wanjiru, 21, world record holder of the half marathon, finished the Fukuoka International Open Marathon Championship in two hours six minutes and 39 seconds, with Ethiopia‘s Deriba Merga second at two hours six minutes and 50 seconds.Originally from Kenya, Wanjiru has trained himself in Japan for six years and now is in his third year running at Toyota Motor Kyushu in the southwestern city of Fukuoka.“It feels very good,” Wanjiru said. “I was a bit nervous until about 30 kilometres (18.6 miles), but I felt the strength afterward.”Japan’s Atsushi Sato, Japan’s half marathon record holder, took third, finishing the race with a smile and an arm raised as he spearheaded his bid to win a ticket to the Beijing Olympics next year.The race was one of three marathons that the Japanese Association of Athletics Federations set aside as national trials to decide three Olympic berths for Japanese men.Merga, 27, and Sato closely marked Wanjiru until shortly after 33 kilometres. Wanjiru and Merga pulled away from Sato after the 35 kilometre marker.