Kenyan repeats as winner of marathon

HONOLULU — Jimmy Muindi of Kenya won the Honolulu Marathon for the fifth — and third consecutive — time on Sunday but failed in an effort to break his own year-old record.

He finished the 26.2-mile run in two hours and 12 minutes, nearly a minute off his 2004 record pace of 2:11:12.

Three-time winner Mbarak Hussein, a Kenyan-American, made a strong push at the end and finished second in 2:15:06.

Olesya Nurgalieva of Russia, running for the first time in Honolulu, won the women’s race with a 2:30:24 finish, nearly three minutes off the women’s record of 2:27:33 set last year by Lyubov Morgunova of Russia, who was fifth this year.

All of the top 10 men are from Kenya or Japan, and all of the top 10 women are from Russia or Japan in the tropical race that included nearly 25,000 runner. Although Hussein is a native of Kenya and is listed as being from Kenya, he is a resident of Albuquerque, N.M., and became a naturalized American citizen in October 2004.

The elite runners said there was little wind or humidity along the course that runs the length of Hawaii’s most famous beach at Waikiki and alongside the landmark Diamond Head crater.

Muindi, 32, ran with a pack of 10 or 12 and put in a string of record-pace sub-five-minute miles before the pack had dwindled to seven and he began pulling away before the 12-mile mark.

He ran alone for the rest of the race. However, his pace dropped slightly in the second half of the run and his lead over last year’s record pace gradually dwindled into a deficit.

Although he was disappointed he missed breaking his own record, he said he was happy with his victory. Having his wife and two children in Honolulu made it special, he said.

He cited two factors in his second-half slowdown: the lack of a pacesetter or challengers and the malfunction of the clock on the pace vehicle immediately ahead of him.

“You need to know the pace you are setting,” he said. “I was running blindly.”

He said his time probably could have been faster if someone had challenged him when he broke away from the pacesetter, and if he had known how fast he was going.

Hussein, 40, said he was surprised Muindi made his early move.

“I didn’t think he would go out that early,” he said. “But he knows the course, and I didn’t want to try to keep up.”

At that point, Hussein, who was running fifth, said he decided to go for second place.

Hayakawa, the 2003 women’s winner, finished second after passing several other women late in the race.

But she said she wasn’t happy with her 2:32:59 time, which she said was her worst in a marathon. “I was not physically ready to run like I wanted,” she said.

Morgunova said she felt a lot of pressure being the defending champion and said her late arrival in Honolulu on Friday night probably affected her performance. She finished fifth.

Muindi and Nurgalieva each won $17,000 in prize money and bonuses.

A total of 28,048 runners were registered, including 17,345 from Japan. Race officials said 24,643 started the race.

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