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Marathon couple redeems Kenya’s image with historic Paris double victory

A Kenyan couple on Sunday recorded a rare sporting achievement by winning their respective races of the 41st Paris marathon.

The achievement of Paul Lonyangata and his wife, Purity Rionoripo, is also set to earn them millions of shillings in prize money.

Lonyangata recorded his biggest career win in a time of two hours six minutes and 10 seconds despite losing valuable time when doubling back after missing the penultimate water station.

Stephen Chebogut (2hr 6min 56sec) came second, with Solomon Yego (2hr 7min 13sec) settling for third in what was a Kenyan clean sweep.

“I feel good now as my aim was to come here to win,” said Lonyangata who was going one better after taking second in the Paris half-marathon in March.


In the women’s race Rioniripo, 23, timed 2 hours, 20 minutes and 55 seconds to claim victory, in the process smashing her personal best by almost four minutes.

Rionorigo was followed across the line by her compatriot Agnes Barsosio at 2hr 21:02 with Flomena Cheyech (2hr 21:23) completing the podium places.

“I’m so happy, it’s a great day for me to win and to beat my personal best,” said Rionorigo, who had last year’s winner Visiline Jepkesho (fourth) among the more fancied contenders in her slipstream.

The Kenyan couple is known to train together in Iten.

The couple’s success put a smile back on the face of Kenyan athletics 48 hours after the shock news of Olympic marathon champion Jemima Sumgong’s failed dope test.