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January 15, 2005

Kenyans battle it out for first and second

From: Ballarat Courier, Australia - Jan 15, 2005

KENYAN marathon masters Edwin Kipchumba and Raymond Kerich negotiated a flat 42.2km course with ease to claim one-two at the Melbourne 2005 Deaflympics marathon in Ballarat yesterday.

The pair raced shoulder to shoulder until the final 150m, when Kipchumba broke away in a dash to the wire.

He stopped the clock at 2hours 34minutes and 21 seconds, three seconds ahead of Kerich.

South Africa's Issac Mahlake battled over the line in 2:38.24 to claim bronze.

It was Kipchumba's fourth medal for the games, having won bronze in the 5000m, 800m and 3000m steeplechase.

Kipchumba said he was "okay" at shorter distances, but the marathon was his passion.

"I trained from quite a young age," he said.

"At school I would study and run, this was my life. After many years of training, this is what I've reached."

Although Kipchumba said he found the morning temperature quite tolerable, more than half the men's field did not adapt to the conditions as well.

Of 19 runners, 10 did not finish the race.

Rural Ambulance Victoria tactical support Neil Akers said while some runners sustained muscular injuries, most got the staggers in the heat.

"The problems were generally related to the conditions," Mr Akers said.

"The marathon is an extreme event relative to the distance, energy and amount of fluids they go through.

"Some may not have been prepared for the weather, but it hasn't been anything serious. It's normal for this event in these conditions," he said.

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